Thursday, July 10, 2008

Forbes: Most Lucrative College Majors

Business Majors
All Majors
Graphs above (courtesy of Antony Davies, click to enlarge) show the Forbes list of the most lucrative college majors based on 0-5 years, 5-10 years, and 10-20 years of experience, full story here.

Note in the top graph that economics, finance and accounting majors start out about the same, but after 10 years or more, economics majors make almost $12,000 more than finance majors, and finance majors make almost $13,000 more than accounting majors.


At 7/11/2008 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the list certainly does not reflect economic shifts in the labor market. What would really be interesting is if Forbes added Geology or Petroleum Engineering majors to the analysis. The oil and natural gas industries are having problems hiring talented workers – especially upper management. 20 years of mostly contraction in this industry has made for a very sparse labor force in oil and natural gas extraction. The historical data cannot possibly help to predict the benefits (wages) of majoring in either Geology or Petroleum Engineering. The structural shift in the labor force is there, as higher energy costs are likely here to stay for a while. There is now a shortage of labor, which is pushing salaries in these fields up quickly. And what is amazing is that given the long lags in education, this labor market will likely be hot for a while.

At 7/11/2008 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they include the people who later go on to earn a Ph.D.? That could account for the advantage economics has over accounting and finance 10-20 years out. People who major in economics are probably more likely to go on to grad school.

At 7/11/2008 9:37 AM, Blogger David Foster said...

Too many people make career decisions based on what is hot at the moment. In 1999, nobody in the media was running articles about the career opportunities in chemical & petroleum was all "computers, computers, computers."

At 7/11/2008 9:39 AM, Blogger Matt S said...

To me, there's one problem with the lucrative-ness of any major. I think it's great that some people want to do marketing or oil drilling or whatever, if that's their passion. But I think that becoming an accountant because that's where the money is seems, philosophically, a morally cruddy position. I don't like how everyone is obsessed with making bokus of cash, from overcompensated CEO's down to my fellow UofM students. I'm all for capitalism, but as a commie pinko liberal, I feel like it would be better if we just had a nice big middle class. It'd probably be better for the general political will anyways (through Rousseau's eyes, at least).

Of course, I'm a PAT Major (and a liberal), so while I'll probably do better than other music school kids, I'm not guaranteed anything in terms of financial security. But it's what I love.

At 7/11/2008 10:28 AM, Blogger Marko said...

Ok matt, but if you pick something you love that doesn't pay much, please don't whine about high gas prices, high health care prices, the cost of tuition for your kids, etc. etc.

Also, please don't come after (using taxes) the large amount of money that I earn working very hard doing something I don't much like. THAT would be immoral. Something about the ant and the grasshoper . . .

It's funny how late at night the parking lots of business across the country are filled with BMWs, Lexuses and Mercedes, long after the VW bugs and econo cars have gone home. Before you start complaining that CEOs are overpaid (not by you, by the way), you should think about the sacrifices their parents made to send them to better schools, and the sacrifices they made to do well in those schools, and the sacrifices they made during college, and then in their first job, and then working their way up the corporate ladder so that the lucky, hardworking few could make those paychecks you think are too high. Have you ever worked 80+ hour weeks for years, with no days off (not even weekends!) for months at a time, sometimes not going home for days? I have, and it is tough. These people have a passion for sucess, and allowing them to indulge their passion and reap the hard earned rewards is just as moral as letting you indulge your passion and making little money.

Please don't try to take the money from the guy that works hard just so you can slack off. It's just not right!

At 7/11/2008 10:40 AM, Blogger Marko said...

Also, don't forget that those rich folks that work so hard for their money are paying massive amounts of taxes - they are paying for the roads you drive on, the military that defends you, the police and fire protection you depend on, the government agents that track down terrorists trying to kill you, the regulators that make sure you have safe, subsidized milk to drink, the rangers that take care of the parks you skip about in with your hippie friends, etc. You should be thankful to those overpaid CEOs for providing millions upon millions of jobs across the country - the middle class that you wish there was more of - and the spare change that you get to live on so you can pursue your passion. Don't bite the hand that feeds you - there is a reason why marxism sputtered and died around most of the world, choking on the blood of its victums. Marxism stops the creation of the very wealth that it claims to want to distribute more "fairly". The fairest distribution of wealth is to those that actually earn it. You may not like that, but if you are not contributing much, don't expect your voice to count for much.


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