Numbers Tell A Story

I read a lot, always have. Much of my reading is to satisfy personal interests and has little application to my professional life, but I always have my eyes peeled for bits of information that are relevant to the things I write about for trade audiences.

In that vein I will share with you some data I recently came across in different articles that tell a story worth paying attention to. I won’t bother with a lot of explanation, I’ll simply present the relevant data and let you absorb any lessons you see fit.

  • A recent survey by Bankrate, an organization that tracks data relevant to the banking industry, studied median income and unemployment rates for 162 college majors. Graduates with my college major, English, earned a median annual income of $47,800. At least they were better off than those majoring in fine arts ($37k) or drama ($35k).
  • The average plumber as of April 2020 earned an average income of $57,183, according to the website
  • A survey by identified taking out a student loan as the biggest educational regret of college grads. Next was majoring in a humanities curriculum.
  • A study by TD Ameritrade found that 49%, less than half, of young millennials who graduated college said their degree was “very or somewhat unimportant” to their current job. Around 40% of college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree.
  • College costs have increased by more than 25% in the past 10 years.
  • A Gallup poll from last year found that 61% of U.S. college students saying they were afraid to speak out about things they believe because it would be considered politically incorrect. The same poll found that 37% said it was “acceptable” to shout down speakers they disapproved of and 10% said it was okay to use violence to silence them.
  • A study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that less than half of the more than 1,100 colleges and universities the Council looked at required traditional courses in literature, foreign language, U.S. government, history or economics. At some schools students can satisfy their humanities requirements with courses focused on zombies, Star Trek, comics or game design.
  • A construction data firm, BuildZoom, found that the number of construction workers age 24 and under has declined by 30% since 2005. A survey by the Associated General Contractors found 78% of their members complaining about lack of skilled labor. That’s why many trade companies are offering recruitment bonuses and free training.

Make what you will of these data blurbs. To me, they tell a profound story to anyone undecided about college versus a trade career.