WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Career College Association (CCA) today released the results of a new commissioned survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R), finding more than two out of three Americans either taking steps or considering steps to address their employment situation in the midst of the current economic turmoil.
One silver lining in all the economic gloom appears to be the extent to which people may be "reinventing" their working lives with new educational programs and career skills. Over one-third of survey respondents (38 percent) indicated an interest in higher education and 32 percent of these "education seekers" say they are doing so in order to pursue a long-standing passion or an intellectual interest.
"A substantial percentage of Americans are looking at the current downturn as the opportunity to reinvent themselves with new skills, new interests and new professional pursuits, notwithstanding the distress that many in the workforce currently feel," said CCA President Harris N. Miller. "Nobody likes to be out of a job, but this survey suggests that people who are unemployed, under-employed or simply anxious about their current employment prospects are using lemons to make lemonade."
"Career re-inventors," those pursuing a long-standing passion or interest, constituted 43 percent of 25-34 year olds in the education seeker group. Thirty percent of adults age 55-64 say the same, suggesting that many Americans have found the freedom — whether they wish it or not — to pursue long standing professional interests.
Other "silver lining" points of interest include:
The survey finds that 33 percent of Americans describe themselves as either unemployed or under-employed, working fewer hours per week than they would like. An additional 12 percent describe themselves as either newly hired in the past six months but at lower salary or benefits or employed but anxious about remaining so in the near term. Just 23 percent of those surveyed say they are secure in their current position up to retirement.
Younger workers hit hardest
Middle class anxiety widespread
Almost one third of middle class Americans report having little or no savings.
Higher education looms large as an employment booster
Forty-four percent of Americans who are taking steps to address their employment situation and financial prospects say higher education is part of their plan and another 11 percent say they are thinking about it for the future.
In terms of characterizing the people who are thinking about additional higher education as an employment booster, the survey shows:
Middle class primed to take action
Two of three respondents deemed middle class — individuals earning between $35,000 and $125,000 per year — report that they are currently taking steps to address their employment uncertainties and, of this number, nearly 40 percent say higher education is part of their plan and another 13 percent say they are seriously considering it. Career oriented programs far out-perform liberal arts programs. For instance:
In terms of higher education options, nearly four out of ten (36 percent) of education seekers say they are most interested in either a graduate or professional degree. Thirty-two percent say they are most interested in pursing an undergraduate degree, 5 percent indicate an associate’s degree is of most interest, and 20 percent cite a preference for a certificate or diploma in fields such as auto mechanics, medical or culinary arts.
Non-traditional students seek faster re-skilling options
Just over one in four education seekers (28 percent) appear to be responding to job market trends and another 13 percent are mobilized to keep their skills current.
As to what type of institution education seekers are considering, 44 percent indicate a public four-year college or university, 13 percent say they might go out of state to attend such a school, 39 percent register their preference for a community college, 21 percent give the nod to a career college, and 14 percent indicate a private independent four-year college.
This education survey was conducted via telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Career College Association between February 18 and February 22, 2009 among 1,008 adults, ages 18 and above. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
The Career College Association (CCA) is a voluntary membership organization of accredited, private postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs. CCA has more than 1,500 members that educate and support over one million students each year for employment in over 200 occupational fields. CCA member institutions provide the full range of higher education programs: masters and doctoral degree programs, two- and four-year associate and baccalaureate degree programs, and short-term certificate and diploma programs. Visit CCA at www.career.org.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com/.