Want a Pay Raise? Get a PhD or a Trucker’s License

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The reports on wage stagnation in the United States are troubling. The share of wages as part of the G.D.P.  – 43.5 percent — slumped to an all-time low in 2012. While compensation for Wall Street executives and sports stars increases, it’s almost impossible to find an industry where wage earners are seeing a rise in income — except for truck drivers and the academic elite.

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times points out that, among other things, professors holding a PhD and dependable truck drivers are two entities that cannot be replaced by lower-cost alternatives. You can’t outsource work that depends on skills of this kind, and it’s impossible to move real materials and teach students using a computer. For the near future, these industries will see wages holding steady or rising.

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Shipping and transportation will never be out of demand until items can be teleported long distances with the press of a button. As of now, there is no technology able to pull off such a feat. When looking at the rising salaries of high-level college professors, it’s slightly more difficult to see the reason behind the growth in wages. For one thing, the proliferation of online universities would suggest there is less of a need for full-time professors. Yet online universities are limited on several counts.

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