Title

College Majors and Skills: Evidence from the Universe of Online Job Ads

Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2534-8164

Publication Date

1-4-2022

Series

NBER Working Paper 29605

Abstract

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.

Publisher

National Bureau of Economic Research

DOI

10.3386/w29605

Issue Date

December 2021

Sponsorship

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.

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; LABOR MARKET ISSUES

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Citation

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