Marketwatch has an interesting piece detailing survey results that show a terrible trend, the majority of recent college graduates are taking low-skilled jobs that require only a college diploma. Two studies of a large number of recent graduates have come to the same conclusion.
From the article:
And while 63% of “Generation Y” workers — those age 18 to 29 — have a bachelor’s degree, the majority of the jobs taken by graduates don’t require one, according to an online survey of 500,000 young workers carried out between July 2011 and July 2012 by PayScale.com, a company that collects data on salaries.
Another survey by Rutgers University came to the same conclusion: Half of graduates in the past five years say their jobs didn’t require a four-year degree and only 20% said their first job was on their career path. “Our society’s most talented people are unable to find a job that gives them a decent income,” says Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science and public policy at Rutgers.
I have some pretty strong opinions on this one. While I could write a book, let me boil them down to a few quick points.
Obviously our economy is in trouble and I fear it is about to get much worse. This generation, now swimming in student loan debt, is in for a very difficult road ahead.
College, for a large number of Americans, is a scam. American politicians, educators and employers have made a degree appear essential for most labor. It is not. Unless a student is interested/capable of going into the hard sciences, mathematics, computing or wants to be an educator, a college education should be seen as inconsequential for most employment. It is seriously time to rethink a world where a Women’s Study or Liberal Arts degree is seen as a qualifier for much of anything other than time spent living within the bubble that is a college campus.
Meanwhile we as a culture are undervaluing many crucial, wealth generating forms of employment. The stigma that there is no value in becoming a plumber, machinist, nurse, mechanic or any of dozens of jobs that require actual physical labor is the worst kind of elitist. Many of these jobs can lead to the creation of profitable small businesses and self-employment but are looked down upon in our society.
Finally for all the talk of greedy corporations, corporate welfare and the 1%, it is shocking how little discussion occurs around the massive amounts of money given to institutes of higher education while the cost to attend them has skyrocketed.
There is simply no need for so many Americans to attend college and not justification for those institutions to charge the insane amounts of money they do for tuition.