orgtheory.net

sociology don’t pay nuthin’

Salary.com had one of those lists of majors that don’t pay very well. #8? You guessed it – sociology:

People who enter the field of sociology generally are interested in helping their fellow man. Unfortunately, that kind of benevolence doesn’t usually translate to wealth. Here are three jobs commonly held by sociology majors (click on job title and/or salary for more info):

… social worker

… corrections officer

… chemical dependency counselor

This is one of those cheesy magazine articles on careers, but it is consistent with prior research on college majors and income. Sociology is a feeder into service professions. That’s a good thing, though I do wonder how my sublime lectures on the differences between structuralism and post-structuralism help people get off of drugs.

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Written by fabiorojas

March 29, 2013 at 12:34 am

5 Responses

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  1. Isn’t the first step in recovery to hit bottom? What would be more emblematic of staring into the abyss than realizing that one just spent untold hours investigating the nuances that separate structuralism and post-structuralism? ;-)

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    Randy

    March 29, 2013 at 1:22 am

  2. I think these surveys tend to have a lot of problems that have already been commented on extensively elsewhere: they fail to account for selection effects (e.g. people who want to be social workers choosing the major rather than the major turning people into low paid social workers), they do not account for the large percentage of graduates who go to professional schools and they often only take into account the first job (or at least the first few years post graduation) when there may be considerable career advancement later on. My anecdotal experience is that selection into the major is a large part of the story. With the exception of jobs that train you for very specific careers, I don’t think it really matters that much what your major is. Among my students, I’ve seen very smart, productive and ambitious soc majors get great jobs post graduation and I’ve seen mediocre soc majors get mediocre jobs.

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    JD

    March 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm

  3. A great deal depends on the school. My department is not highly ranked in sociology, but the school is prestigious, and many of our majors get nice professional jobs (in areas like consulting, policy, non-profits, etc.) or get into good graduate programs.

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    soctraveller

    March 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm

  4. “With the exception of jobs that train you for very specific careers, I don’t think it really matters that much what your major is”
    That sounds like an empirical claim that there is little correlation. I don’t expect we would find that looking at a large, representative data set.

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    Wonks Anonymous

    April 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  5. @Wonks – It’s a hypothesis (based on anecdotal observation) that if you control for ability, social background and ambition there is not much of a treatment effect associated with sociology compared to other majors with respect to income. If the data exists to test that hypothesis, I’d be interested to see the results.

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    JD

    April 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm


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