College Majors and Skills: Evidence from the Universe of Online Job Ads
Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier
NBER Working Paper 29605
We document the skill content of college majors as perceived by employers and expressed in the near universe of U.S. online job ads. Social and organizational skills are general in that they are sought by employers of almost all college majors, whereas other skills are more specialized. In turn, general majors––Business and General Engineering––have skill profiles similar to all majors; Nursing and Education are specialized. These cross-major differences in skill profiles explain considerable wage variation, with little role for within-major differences in skills across areas. College majors can thus be reasonably conceptualized as portable bundles of skills.
National Bureau of Economic Research
We are grateful to the Russell Sage Foundation (grant #1811-09737) and the National Science Foundation (grant #1919360) for financial support. Shawn Martin is grateful for support from the PR/Award R305B150012 from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; LABOR MARKET ISSUES
Hemelt, Steven W., Brad J. Hershbein, Shawn M. Martin, and Kevin M. Stange. 2021. "College Majors and Skills: Evidence from the Universe of Online Job Ads." NBER Working Paper 29605. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.3386/w29605