In the discussion of how to boost the education and skill levels of the American work force, one central issue is rarely addressed: the gap between male and female achievement. The reality is that the slowdown in U.S. educational gains is predominantly a male affair, and one that drags down the overall competitiveness of our work force and workers’ ability to land (or create) good jobs.
To get more Americans working and set economic growth back on track, we need to understand what’s going on with men in education.
Despite rising college costs and the many other challenges facing America’s schools, women have made extraordinary strides in education. They have overtaken men in high school and college completion in the last few decades, earning 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees and 62 percent of postsecondary occupational certificates.
Our research has found that if men had the same educational distribution as women, their earnings would be 3.7 percent higher than they are and more men would be employed. Bridging the education gender gap is central to increasing America’s competitiveness in the world economy.
The educational shortfall of men has two important components. First, men are less likely to enroll in colleges and universities. Second, even when they do enroll, they are less likely to obtain a degree or certificate.
Why? One prime reason is young men’s poorer grades in middle and high school (despite performance similar to women’s on standardized tests). A second factor is that young men are more likely than women to prioritize work over college when their short-term job opportunities are relatively good or their educational debt is relatively high.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
In a world of high youth unemployment, where the supply of skilled labor often fails to match employer demand, Germany believes help can be found in its Dual Vocational Training System (TVET)—a time-tested economic model now incorporated into the Federal Republic’s law. This program, many supporters believe, is the reason why Germany has the lowest jobless rate among … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, January 29th, the German Embassy in Washington, DC hosted “The German Skills Initiative” with many heads of both U.S. and German corporations in attendance. Alongside German Ambassador Peter Ammon, the speakers included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank, German Deputy Chief Executive of International Economic Affairs Dr. Volker Treir, CEO of Siemens … Continue reading »