There has been a lot of talk all over the manosphere about what degrees an individual should or shouldn't take. Now it doesn't take much reasoning to see that a degree in most forms of engineering, accounting, hard sciences, or programming will yield far greater returns than anything with the 'word studies'. But even then there is a lot more to degrees than just that. It behooves you to do a lot of homework into what you will study, or better yet, develop of variety of skills that will help you along your goals. Because even getting a 'good' degree isn't yielding the returns it once did.
I say this because I know plenty of individuals who have educations, and the required skill sets that in the past would easily have earned them a salary far in excess of the median income of the United States, but are now earning little more than many HR desk jockeys. Yes an entry level civil engineer has a median salary between 50,000 to 60,000, but that is if you beat out the dozens of individuals for a full time position. There is also the chance that you might only end up in a contract or part time gig, which means you could be earning half of what you expected.
Now you could rightly say that civil engineering is a profession highly dependent on government projects and spending on roads, bridges, and the like. I have never meet a civil engineer that said that the government spent too much on road work projects or light rail. However, even though such work is government based it, the maintenance and building of roads, in arguably has a higher utility than the vast majority of government jobs. And it isn't jobs like this that are having trouble finding good full time and decent paying work.
I know mechanical and electrical engineers that are still stuck as technicians, even though the experience they have acquired would more than qualify them for any entry level engineering job in their filed, and because of it are earning less than $ 40,000 a year in a city that has one of the highest cost of living scores in the nation. Even programmers are facing this difficulty; and believe me I have met many individuals that talk about their cousin or brother who programs and makes 80,000 to 100,000 a year. Unfortunately for them they often fail to realize that their is a significant age gape, meaning that they most likely have a skill set that is rare at the moment, but will not be rare when their younger siblings have the opportunity to try for those very positions.
Ultimately the problem isn't really the level of pay for those jobs, rather, it is the exorbitant cost that is accrued while earning certification that allows them to do those jobs. The fact that programming, engineering, and even accounting jobs are paying less, relatively, than what they used too simply signifies that information is becoming cheaper and skillets becoming less scarce. At the same time many cost of living items, such as cars, electronics, clothing and the like have all followed suit by dropping in price.
If this nation is able to figure out the absurdity that is our education system, that charges a premium for information that can be found for virtually no cost, then we could fix this problem. Imagine if it only cost $ 5,000, or better yet $ 500, over the course of four years to get an equivalent education in real degrees that cost $50,000 to $ 100,000 today. But that is another post.
The fact is that much more is required for good employment than a degree. The educational system that exists in America, and throughout the world, has sown its own demise by trying to expand 'education' to all. And by education I simply mean accreditation. Little real knowledge or academic growth is gained from a university education today. Your grandparents and parents will not accept this, and cannot because the system worked for them in their youth, but like the Captain I can speak the truth. The cold hard reality is that individuals with no formal education in the field that you are learning their degree in can do the very same job with supplementary training.
It should be very telling that a person with no financial experience can do the same job that in banking that someone with a degree can after only a few months of training. It should be very telling when someone can fake it till they make it as an engineer. What it should tell you is that the degree means nothing, it is the person that makes the job. Take the time to develop unique skillets and look for opportunities for yourself. Your university will not do that for you.