Andrea Stemper’s one of our NGPF Fellows who integrates personal finance into her economics classes (but not for long — she’s also advocating at her district to make personal finance its own elective course, which we’d LOVE to see happen). Adept at integrating financial capability into econ, Andrea’s written in with this suggestion for a lesson on job prospects and supply & demand:
From Korn Ferry International, the highest paying fields among the 25 they analyzed were:
As in years past, those entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers can expect to garner the best starting salaries. The five highest-paying fields of the 25 jobs in the analysis include:
- Software Developer $65,232 (31 percent above average)
- Engineer $63,036 (27 percent above average)
- Actuary $59,212 (19 percent above average)
- Scientist/researcher $58,733 (18 percent above average)
- Environmental Professional $56,660 (14 percent above average)
Wondering what the average was for the Class of 2017?
First, a little orientation: The X axis is hourly median wage for a given career and the Y axis is the differential in wages between the 10th and 75th percentile. So what the graph is telling us is that the careers that have the highest values on the Y axis have the highest percentage increase in wages between top (75th percentile) and bottom performers (10th percentile). As displayed on the graph, most of the high Y-axis values align with jobs in the entertainment business. For example, to take one job, Actor, you can see the hourly median wage is about $20 and the wage percentage increase between the 10th and 75th percentile is over 400%.
Have some fun with this graph by going to the interactive version here where your students can scroll over and find what career aligns with a given plot on the graph. Here are some questions:
- What 4-5 jobs have the lowest amount of wage dispersion between top
What happens to young people who have the misfortune of graduating into a recession? That’s the question that researcher Bart Cockx of Ghent University, Belgium, and IZA, Germany tries to answer (here’s his one-pager summarizing the research.) This research provides further evidence of importance of education as demonstrated by the differing outcomes based on educational attainment.
I found this research of interest since I saw this phenomenon first-hand in my family. My older brother graduated from college into a recession in 1981 and struggled to find work. He took a job as a bellhop to get out of the house and ultimately talked his way into an interview and then into an engineering job (yes, initiative does matter!). So, it took him about six months after graduating to find this job. Clearly his technical degree (engineering) came in handy and then once he got that good-paying job in his field his career was back on the right track.
Now onto the key takeaways from the research:
A great question for your students to ponder before diving into your Career unit. The impetus for this question came from a story I heard on the Marketplace podcast:
While listening, ask your students to listen:
Plug this interactive into your Career or Leadership lesson and spark a great conversation about leadership styles. Students can complete this simple nine question survey from Quartz and determine what their leadership style is. Here’s a sampling of the statements (or questions) that students will respond to: