4
   

More welders, fewer philosophers?

 
 
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 08:20 am
In the FOX Business debate for Republican presidential candidates held November 10th, Marco Rubio expressed his support for vocational training, saying that "welders make more than philosophers" and that we need more welders and fewer philosophers.

I saw a CNN fact-check segment which judged Rubio's claim to be false, but after doing independent research the facts aren't quite as clear.

According to a welders' specialist website citing 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for welders is $36,720; a common starting salary is around $25,000; and the average for the top ten percent of welders by salary is about $57,000.

http://www.weldmyworld.com/blog/2014/09/how-much-money-do-welders-make-annually.html

According to a website which gives salaries by major, citing its own survey of more than 25,000 graduates (which seems to be CNN's source judging by the similarity of the figures), Philosophy majors have an average starting salary of $65,691; and a ten year average salary of $89,187.

http://www.studentsreview.com/salary_by_major.php3

However, when you examine the figures a little closer, questions arise.

For example, even though more than 25,000 graduates were surveyed, only 120 of the survey respondents were Philosophy majors. The fact that respondents are self-selected combined with the small number of respondents in this category makes the figures less reliable than those from the Department of Labor survey.

Also, of the 120 Philosophy majors surveyed, only 35 percent describe themselves as being "still in their field", which suggests that most of the already small number of respondents took jobs not related to their major.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate given for these 120 respondents is 9.2 percent, though it's unclear how recent that figure is.

So, is Rubio right or wrong? Does reliable data by major exist to answer this question?
 
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 08:48 am
@puzzledperson,
Correction: a check of CNNs website shows that their fact-check gave an average salary of $63,630 for "philosophy professors" citing Department of Labor (BLS) statistics. (I had seen a television broadcast.)

Still, given pay scales for tenured positions, restricting the comparison to professorial positions is questionable at best. Rubio didn't say "professors of philosophy" and considering the fact that the subject was vocational training vs. non-technical college degrees, it's an unfair comparison.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 08:56 am
@puzzledperson,
These sorts of things are hard to sort out specific facts because he is right and wrong depending on how you view it.

My take is he is trying to say that you are more likely to be gainfully employed as a welder than as a philosopher. There is alot of debate about how useful a college education is especially with the high cost and if you get a major that is not easily employable. Does it make sense to spend over $50k a year for university and then become unemployable in your field because there are limited jobs in the field? Kind of why I made a double major - one that was more employable and the other because it was more my interest.

If you were to look at all the students graduating with a philosphy degree how much do they actually make even those not working in their field - I think that is what is getting at. You would also need to look how long it took them to get their job --- meaning they could have made $0 for a couple of years whereas a welder was employed at day 1.

Basically you could make the arguement either way if his statement is false or not - so the Republicans will say it is true and the Democrats will say it is false.

What else is new?
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2015 07:06 pm
@puzzledperson,
Update:

A later CNN telecast gives different figures, this time citing the online database PayScale. CNN's figures for Philosophy majors with a BA degree were an "early career" average salary of $42,000 and a "mid-career" average of $85,000 ( without specifying mean or median average, which makes a difference when comparing to BLS figures for welders' salaries). These figures can be found at the following link, after requesting the full list once there:

http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/majors-that-pay-you-back/bachelors?page=22

But PayScale's figures are based on just 60 self-selected respondents, with no indication what percentage of those stayed in their field or took jobs unrelated to their field. It also isn't clear what percentage of these completed additional degrees.

Clicking on "skill/specialty" lists 13 in project management, 7 as Microsoft Excel, 6 customer service, 5 Microsoft Office, 5 data analysis, 4 operations management, and 4 office administration.

Beyond this, PayScale's numbers are inconsistent. Despite claiming a "mid-career average" salary of $85,000 for Philosophy majors with Bachelor's degrees, elsewhere in the website they specify the full salary range by gender: $29,735 - $64,329 for women, and $37,747 - $88,675 for men. Note that the "mid-career average" is almost as high as the highest salary listed as being the top end of the salary range. Click here and scroll down:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor%27s_Degree%2c_Philosophy/Salary

Furthermore, in a blog-style post at the website by PayScale employee Peter Swanson, dealing specifically with Rubio's debate claim and dated November 11, 2015, the top end of the highest salary range (men) for Philosophy majors with Bachelor's degrees is given as $81,756 which is actually thousands of dollars below the "mid-career average salary":

http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2015/11/fact-check-do-welders-really-make-more-than-philosophers-

Furthermore, Swanson's commentary gives a salary range for welders of $28,593 - $75,965 which is very close to the range he gives for Philosophy majors with Bachelor's degrees.

Put it all together, and CNN's fact check doesn't pass a fact check.

0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 04:15 am
Folks...I do not like Marco Rubio at all...

...BUT...

...he was trying to make a valid point...

...and digging into the relative earnings of philosophers and welders is idiotic!
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 05:55 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

Folks...I do not like Marco Rubio at all...

...BUT...

...he was trying to make a valid point...

...and digging into the relative earnings of philosophers and welders is idiotic!

Seriously. by that logic NBA players are worth 83 times what nurses are. Lefty elite media dont take too well being told that their citadel the university is training too many warriors, too the point that they make up idiotic assertions and feed it to us over corporate media. Were we not supposed to notice? Might want to consider the R's point, and look towards Tunisia to see what happens when too many people are in school too long getting their heads filled with expectations that the nation can not fulfill.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 07:25 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:

Folks...I do not like Marco Rubio at all...

...BUT...

...he was trying to make a valid point...

...and digging into the relative earnings of philosophers and welders is idiotic!

Seriously. by that logic NBA players are worth 83 times what nurses are. Lefty elite media dont take too well being told that their citadel the university is training too many warriors, too the point that they make up idiotic assertions and feed it to us over corporate media. Were we not supposed to notice? Might want to consider the R's point, and look towards Tunisia to see what happens when too many people are in school too long getting their heads filled with expectations that the nation can not fulfill.


Really?

You are actually starting a post of yours talking about what is logical???

C'mon!
Wink
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:32 am
@Frank Apisa,
I'm not a Republican or a Democratic. If I were to vote for any of the 2016 presidential race candidates that I'm familiar with, it would be Bernie Sanders.

For me, this isn't a political issue at all. Rubio isn't a fringe candidate and he's vying to lead the nation. How the media spins what a candidate says can be more important than what a candidate says. He gets a few minutes in a one-time event on a network that isn't even part of the typical basic cable line-up. After that, all the networks, print media and websites endlessly sample sound bites, telling the public what it "really means", 24/7, for days or weeks on end.

CNN purports to offer a "fact-check". That sounds objective and authoritative. Is it?

For me, this is about thinking independently of both the candidates' sound bites and the media's spin. An electorate that gets led around by the nose by whomever spoke last or most often, is an uninformed electorate. How can an uninformed electorate make good decisions at the voting booth, with respect to candidates whose values, emphasis, and decisions may determine the fabric of their lives in important ways for years to come?

Is it better to elect candidates who recognize that issues can be complex and context dependent, or candidates prone to oversimplify things and to make reflexive decisions based on broad political dogma? What kind of media is desirable in this regard? What kind of voters?

Mr Swanson of PayScale, CNN's media source, writes that " The salary range for Philosophy BAs is then $32,772 - $81,756 for men and $33,291-$71,510 for women."

Yet the PayScale website prominently displays a "VP Strategy" making $115,000 a year, among Philosophy majors with a Bachelor degree. Is this individual making that kind of money because of a BA degree in philosophy, or does an individual who once earned a BA degree in philosophy (perhaps among other degrees) happen to earn that kind of money?

Why does the bottom end of the scale start at 32K and what does that say about the trustworthiness of the average salary claimed? I'm sure there are some very motivated Philosophy majors who, through nothing more than an undergraduate degree in the subject, developed acute analytical, research, and communication skills. And that, along with the reputation of their alma mater, along with a certain amount of luck, opened up opportunities for them. There are also a lot of mediocre students with who went to work as bookstore clerks and the like. Guess who chose to participate in this very, very small survey of 60 respondents?

Should young viewers considering their future believe Rubio, or CNN, or neither?
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:37 am
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
. . . My take is he is trying to say that you are more likely to be gainfully
employed as a welder than as a philosopher . . .
I completely agree. Worse yet, there are plenty of PhDs of all stripes
languishing in low-paying post-doctoral positions.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 09:56 am
Quote:
Decades of attrition have left the U.S. with welders who largely lack the advanced skills needed today. The average age of a welder in the country is 55; the wave of coming retirements will leave manufacturers at a disadvantage. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers. “We’re dealing with a lost generation,” says Gardner Carrick, vice president for strategic initiatives at the Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. “For 20 years we stopped feeding young people into the trades, and now we’re scrambling to catch up.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-03-20/skilled-welder-shortage-looms-in-u-dot-s-dot-with-many-near-retirement

The dude is right.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:03 am
This was first done by Bush a couple of weeks ago.

Quote:
“Universities ought to have skin in the game. When a student shows up, they ought to say ‘Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that’s great, it’s important to have liberal arts … but realize, you’re going to be working [at] a Chick-fil-A.’ ”


Liberal arts majors often work in varied fields not directly associated with their majors. Philosophy majors don't become philosophers, they use their training to work in other fields. That is why you can't get good salary information. You can read about the #ThisPsychMajor resp0nse where psych majors discussed all their great jobs and contributions here.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:09 am
@engineer,
Go back and look at Rubios wording, I took at as an attack on too many people being at university, not at attack on liberal arts. But now that you bring it up Bush saying that University should be a practical job training center which I am almost certain is his position is yet another reason to not let him near the POTUS chair.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:18 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
As he has on previous occasions, Rubio on Tuesday also singled out liberal arts education for special criticism, calling for a greater focus on vocational training.
“I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education,” he said. “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/11/11/gop-debate-rubio-again-criticizes-philosophy

I dont really follow Rubio much so maybe he also thinks university so be only a job training program, a lot of R's believe that, but at the debate he was clearly to me saying that we need to have less people at university and more people in vocational education and apprentice programs, that liberal arts suck according to him (maybe) was not the main point he was trying to make. And if I am right about his point he is right.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:24 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Go back and look at Rubios wording, I took at as an attack on too many people being at university, not at attack on liberal arts. But now that you bring it up Bush saying that University should be a practical job training center which I am almost certain is his position is yet another reason to not let him near the POTUS chair.


Rubio's point primarily had to do with the value of vocational training. If you actually looked it over again...that should be obvious. His wording shows that was his intent.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Thu 12 Nov, 2015 11:29 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Rubio's point primarily had to do with the value of vocational training. If you actually looked it over again...that should be obvious. His wording shows that was his intent.


Ya, it is distressing how much of the time people are indulging their fantasy lives by hearing what they want to hear rather than what is being said.
0 Replies
 
revelette2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 07:57 am
@Frank Apisa,
Rubio just said welders make money than philosophers. He didn't say welders are more likely to be more employable than philosophers. If that was his point, he should have said it.

Quote:
"Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

This was a great line by Rubio, well delivered, but it’s totally off base.

The median wage of welders is $37,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage for philosophy teachers is $63,630, according to BLS.

In fact, the average first-year salary for a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy is $42,200 — with a mid-career average of $85,000, according to Payscale.com. For college professors, the median salary is $89,913, with the top 10 percent having a salary near $200,000.

By contrast, the top 10 percent salary for welders is only about $58,590, BLS says.


source

We need welders and other construction workers, but we also need highly educated workers. Instead of making everybody make less money, raise the minimum wage and make college degrees more affordable. In the end, everybody benefits including our country.
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Fri 13 Nov, 2015 11:07 am
@revelette2,
revelette2 wrote:

Rubio just said welders make money than philosophers. He didn't say welders are more likely to be more employable than philosophers. If that was his point, he should have said it.

Quote:
"Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

This was a great line by Rubio, well delivered, but it’s totally off base.

The median wage of welders is $37,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage for philosophy teachers is $63,630, according to BLS.

In fact, the average first-year salary for a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy is $42,200 — with a mid-career average of $85,000, according to Payscale.com. For college professors, the median salary is $89,913, with the top 10 percent having a salary near $200,000.

By contrast, the top 10 percent salary for welders is only about $58,590, BLS says.


source

We need welders and other construction workers, but we also need highly educated workers. Instead of making everybody make less money, raise the minimum wage and make college degrees more affordable. In the end, everybody benefits including our country.


Okay...advise parents to send their kids to school to learn to become philosophers.

But compared with that advise, Revelette...what Rubio said should be written on billboards across the nation.

I don't like Rubio...and I think our country would be ill-served by having him elected president...but the thought he was trying to communicate is valid...and valuable.
0 Replies
 
puzzledperson
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Nov, 2015 09:55 am
@revelette2,
revelette2 wrote: "Instead of making everybody make less money, raise the minimum wage and make college degrees more affordable. In the end, everybody benefits including our country."

This leads to a broader point. Part of the reason the economy is sluggish that most of the gains in real (inflation adjusted) income have been going to the top percentiles. Their consumer needs are already met since they have large incomes to begin with, so the additional income is plowed into the stock market where it bids up the price of notional assets and possibly creates a bubble, instead of going to working class households who would spend the money on goods and services, increasing demand for same and causing employers to hire and produce more to meet the increased demand.

Skilled workers and professionals are both essential, but the economy is going to need counter help, clerks and cashiers for the foreseeable future. Drive down the typical avenue in a business zoned city area, and consider all the retail help and restaurant positions that provide the bulk of the labor that makes it all run.

As for the fastest-growing jobs, half pay less than $12 an hour on average (with the average including high cost of living cities which push the average higher than it otherwise would be):

http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/blog/entry/data-points-many-of-the-highest-growth-occupations-are-low-wage-jobs/

One way to avoid the "job killing" objections of the minimum wage debate (whether those objections have merit or not) would be an increase in the earned income tax credit. This would have exactly the same effect without increasing the labor costs of employers. It could be paid for by a small tax on financial transactions, particularly those of a speculative nature that occur frequently (e.g., "day trading"). The effect would be national, with no need to repeat the debate in each of the 50 states.

puzzledperson
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Nov, 2015 10:20 am
@puzzledperson,
P.S. I suspect also that as automation makes more jobs obsolete (i.e. makes it cost effective to replace labor with machines) the unemployment rate and/or the number of part-time positions will increase. Dealing with this through EITC redistribution of income rather than the minimum wage will put less stress on employers as the number of employers and/or full-time positions shrinks.

Obviously such predictions have been wrong since the advent of the industrial revolution, but most of those forms of automation shifted labor from one sector to another (e.g. agriculture to manufacturing). But both the pace and the encompassing nature of automation changes in decades to come are likely to prevent timely adjustments in the structure of the labor force, as processes in a broad variety of jobs are computerized.


0 Replies
 
 

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