Yes, but can they earn a living? Methods for creating an effective system of Measuring Labor Market Outcomes in Higher Education, by Richard W. Moore, Kenneth Chapman, Bettina Huber, and Mark Shors


A new federal initiative calls for a College Scorecard which will include a yet to be determined measure of graduate earnings. In this paper we examine the political context that drives this initiative and examine the nascent efforts of four states to develop statewide systems to measure the labor market outcomes of higher education. We propose five principles to support a system that would generate valid labor market measures that could cut across all segments of higher education in California, and disaggregate down to campuses, departments and programs. We present results from a large-scale pilot project using these principles that generated labor market outcomes for 44,000 college students from California State University Northridge. Finally, we recommend an agenda for creating a statewide system to measure labor market outcomes in California. A first step is to create a venue in which policymakers representing the three public segments (University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges) and the private sector can come together to design a system. In the past, the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) would have been a natural body to do this, as it had representatives from all higher education segments. But it was essentially closed in the last round of budget cuts, so an alternative is needed. We believe that a system that emerges through voluntary cooperation will be stronger in the long run than one that is imposed legislatively. We recommend that each sector designate a high level administrator to join an ad hoc group to develop a system that will ultimately be endorsed by the boards of each system. Private institutions should be represented as well and should encourage their colleagues to join in.

Richard W. Moore
Kenneth Chapman
Bettina Huber
Mark Shors
Publication date: 
April 1, 2013
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
YES, BUT CAN THEY EARN A LIVING? Methods for Creating an Effective System of Measuring Labor Market Outcomes in Higher Education by Richard W. Moore, Kenneth Chapman, Bettina Huber and Mark Shors CSHE.5.13 (April 2013)