A college degree is worth more in some cities than others

The strongest job markets for college graduates include Boulder, Colorado; Durham, North Carolina; San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara in California; and California-Lexington Park in Maryland.

The researchers write that college graduates are also likely to find themselves in-demand in federal government dominated economies such as Washington D.C., and Arlington, Virginia.

On the other hand, a college degree is unlikely to get you in the door in retirement community The Villages, Florida (where just 8 percent of jobs require one) or in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (where just 13 percent do).

When most or all of the applicants an employer hears from are college-educated, he or she will “inflate” their requirements with additional degrees and experiences, Scott said. As a result, many prospective employees can’t keep up with the credentials that are being demanded.

The answer then is not to continue to send more people to traditional colleges, the researchers conclude, but to expand work-based, more affordable education paths.

Employers, for their part, should move toward skill-based hiring, and put less weight on the lengthening lines and letters found on resumes, they write.

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