Employer practices

Skills, Degrees, and Persistent Inequality: The Opportunity Gap between STARs and Workers with 4-Year Degrees

Justin HeckOctober 06, 2021

On average, workers without a bachelor’s degree who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) need 30 years of work experience to earn as much as their peers with a four-year degree earned right out of college. In a new NBER working paper, Peter Blair, Papia Debroy, and I show that the divergent wage outcomes over a worker’s career for those with and without degrees can be explained by an opportunity gap. This gap means that access to good jobs that offer a pathway to the middle class often depends less on an individual’s skills or work experience than on whether they went to college.

Read the full post on the Opportunity@Work blog.