Upjohn Author ORCID Identifier


Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 23-384

**Published Version**

In Labour Economics 85: 102429




We use the near universe of U.S. online job ads to document four new facts about the skills employers demand from college majors. First, some skills––social and organizational––are demanded from all majors whereas others––financial and customer service––are demanded from only particular majors. Second, some majors have skill demand profiles that mirror overall demand for college graduates, such as Business and General Engineering, while other majors, such as Nursing and Education, have relatively rare skill profiles. Third, cross-major differences in skill profiles explain considerable wage variation. Fourth, although major-specific skill demand varies across place, this variation plays little role in explaining wage variation. College majors can thus be reasonably conceptualized as portable bundles of skills.

Issue Date

April 2023

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Wages, health insurance and other benefits


Get in touch with the expert

Want to arrange to discuss this work with the author(s)? Contact our .



Hemelt, Steven W., Brad Hershbein, Shawn Martin, and Kevin M. Stange. 2023. "College Majors and Skills: Evidence from the Universe of Online Job Ads." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 23-384. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp23-384