Surprising News About Young Adults and Education, Employment

Young Adult Employment There is a huge gender gap in educational attainment for young U.S. adults, according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While nearly one in four women had earned a bachelor's degree by their 23rd year, only one in seven men had done the same. Women were also less likely than men at age 23 to be high-school dropouts or high-school graduates not enrolled in college.

But the findings were not limited to education. The survey also uncovered some fascinating facts about young adult employment, such as:

  • Men and women who were college graduates at age 23 were equally likely to be employed. At lower levels of educational attainment, men were more likely than women to be employed. Sixty-eight percent of male high school dropouts were employed at age 23, compared with 50 percent of female dropouts.
  • Eight percent of male high school graduates who had never enrolled in college were in the armed forces at age 23, as were 6 percent of the 23-year-old men who had attended college but had not earned a bachelor's degree and were no longer enrolled.
  • Young adults held an average of 4.9 jobs from age 18 to age 23. On average, men held 4.7 jobs and women held 5.1 jobs during this time period. Not surprisingly, those with more education held more jobs than those with less education.
  • Men with less than a high school diploma spent 61 percent of their time* employed from age 18 to age 23. By comparison, women with less than a high school diploma spent 45 percent of their time* employed. Women with a bachelor's degree or more education spent a larger proportion of weeks employed than did men of the same group (74 versus 65 percent).

So while more young women seem to be going to school, more young men seem to be working or joining the military. These facts alone are not surprising, but the sheer magnitude of the education gap is. Who knows how this will affect them, and their children, in the future?

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* Time measured in number of weeks employed

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