Americans generally like their jobs, but how do graduates compare to those without degrees?
An FKD Feature exclusive

Many of us grow up believing we’ll have the opportunity to do whatever we want. But when post-college reality sets in, we often find that we have to settle in some respects. Does it have to be like this? Will a college degree actually help us that much?

Job happiness, explained

It turns out that the answers to those questions are more optimistic than you might expect. The fact is that more workers are happy than unhappy with their jobs. A recent article from Moneyish collected some information that might be surprising. They cited a Bankrate survey that says 70 percent of Americans like what they do. Additionally, workers with more experience report higher job happiness. The longer you’re in the workforce, the better you’ll tend to feel about your job. This could be due to promotions and job advancement as well as more opportunities that come with that experience.

It’s true that a college degree correlates to a lower unemployment rate and a far higher salary. However, it also tends to come with a lot of debt. What’s more, according to Glassdoor research, salary doesn’t have a huge effect on employee happiness: “A 10 percent increase in employee pay is associated with a 1 point increase in overall company satisfaction on a 0-100 scale.”

This is ultimately the point: workers want more than money at their jobs. A company’s culture and values are the most important things predicting job happiness, along with “career opportunities and quality of senior leadership,” according to Glassdoor’s community expert, who spoke with Moneyish. Millennial workers in particular want flexibility in scheduling and the ability to grow as they advance in their careers.

Do you need a degree to be happy?

Not necessarily. Of course, it depends on what job you want and what you want out of it. Glassdoor, ever the authority, published a report on the jobs with highest happiness ratings: “corporate recruiter, reliability engineer, creative manager and compliance manager.” These are jobs that would be far more difficult to get without a degree. It’s the fact that a degree opens the doors to more opportunity that makes it potentially more appealing. You might have a higher chance of reaching that dream job if your ambitions are particularly grand.


If you went to school and are now unsure whether it was worth it, you don’t need to worry. You’re still at an advantage over those without degrees when it comes to job opportunities. Don’t focus or worry exclusively about salary at your job — a higher salary might not make you much happier. Instead, it’s where you work and whether your values align. This is especially true with those of the millennial generation. If you are considering college, it’ll likely pay off down the line with far more opportunities presented to you. This will give you a better shot at job happiness.

The conclusions of these surveys are essentially that unemployment is down, and there are more opportunities for all Americans now. No matter what happens, you’ve got a high chance for job satisfaction. Make your work your passion.

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Header image: Shutterstock


Posted 02.15.2018 - 01:00 pm EST