Skip to comments.Why do so many people with expensive college degrees settle for low-paying jobs?
Posted on 01/16/2021 9:17:45 PM PST by SeekAndFind
You can’t be serious, Dude.
There was a time in the US when you could get a great job if you earned a bachelor’s degree in “anything.”
The catch is that JFK was president at the time.
Most parents (and their students) are oblivious to how college really works today.
In some ways it is hard to blame them. Colleges and universities have a powerful public relations team, pushing the message 24/7 that "college is for all."
The team is made up of educators, guidance counselors, financial aid officers, politicians, pop culture, special interest groups--like the College Board, and college administrators—who are the biggest beneficiaries. Their influence is everywhere.
Many, many years ago, my “anything” degree, Philosophy, was from a state university in fly-over country, better known for its football team than scholarship. (As I vaguely remember, my GPA wasn’t that robust either.)
However, I had a successful career in IT, and retired as an executive from a Fortune 100 company.
The bad news is that college doesn’t work that way anymore.
Years ago very few high school grads (7%) went on to college. (They tended to be the “smart kids.”) If you graduated with a degree in anything, i.e. English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc., you could get a good job.
Over the years a greater and greater portion of high school grads answered the call,
“You have to go to college!”
We are now at 45%. Probably half these teenagers don’t have the “academic firepower” to handle a serious, marketable major.
Back in the day having a college degree was a big deal. By the year 2000, the quality of a college education had deteriorated significantly, and college grads were a-dime-a-dozen. There were too many graduates, but not enough suitable jobs.
Then we got hit with the Great Recession of 2008.
In the US almost anyone can find a college or university that will accept them and their parent’s money.
You might even manage to graduate with some degree or another.
The problem comes when you try to find a real job. Employers aren’t stupid. They are going to sort through that gigantic stack of resumes and find the smart kids.
Today college is a competition for a relatively few (1,100,000) well-paying, professional jobs. Every year colleges and universities churn out 1,900,000 graduates with shiny new bachelor’s degrees. We don’t know the exact number, but a heck of a lot of minimum wage jobs are held by young people with college degrees in stuff like English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc.
Given the high cost of college, that just doesn’t make any economic sense.
The “Anything” Degree
Two decades ago in his book, Another Way To Win, Dr. Kenneth Gray coined the term “one way to win.” He described the OWTW strategy widely followed in the US as:
* Graduate from high school.
* Matriculate at a four-year college.
* Graduate with a degree in anything.
* Become employed in a professional job.”
Dr. Gray’s message to the then “academic middle” was that this was unlikely to be a successful strategy in the future. The succeeding twenty years have proven him inordinately prescient and not just for the “academic middle.”
The simple explanation is that it comes down to “supply” (graduates) and “demand” (suitable jobs).
Fifty years ago only seven percent of high school graduates went on to college. In post-WW II America our economy was booming while the economies of many European and Asian countries were--only slowly--being rebuilt. The “Law of Supply and Demand” strongly favored the freshly minted college graduate.
Parents and students noticed how college really paid off, and the “great gold rush” to the halls of higher learning began.
Today my local, Midwest run-of-the-mill high school sends eighty percent of their graduates on to college.
Most of them are going to be very disappointed.
The obvious summary: because they take degrees that aren’t worth anything.
Because the degrees are worthless?
Too many baby boomers, who also have college degrees, who are able to work until they are 80 years old and have no intent on retiring, preventing jobs from opening up.
Not that I’m blaming baby boomers per se, but if all the jobs in a sector of the economy have been taken, they aren’t hiring.
That, immigration and outsourcing have really made the push for people to go to college a colossal misfire.
That as well, for sure.
Degrees like “Black Lesbian Dance Theory for White Transgendered Men”. While this degree does not really exist, it points to the useless crap in any Social degree holder you find. The best advice you can give a Social degree is to remember “Do you want fries with that?”
to the author:
not all degrees are equal
not everyone does as well in their studies
not all the jobs pay tge same salary
My son had a ex-girlfriend who got her bachelors in Social Services. She works in a warehouse because she discovered Social Workers dont make sh!t.
When a dull-normal student takes out huge loans for a degree in Transgender and Racial Environmental Justice, he/she belongs working at a McDonald’s drive through. There are too many ridiculous, meaningless college majors that are being offered.
Colleges don’t educate people anymore. They indoctrinate them.
That started decades ago and has only gotten worse.
I have a niece who is 34 years old and has been taking college courses since she was 20. She says she wants to get a PhD in Spanish literature. That will take her at least another five years. At best, she might find a low-paying part-time “adjunct professor” job.
Circa 1966 graduated from high school oddly number one the ACT tests. Two years later most deservedly flunked out of college. I did go back to obtain a degree in geology but also took much chemistry as electives. 17 years later in the oil field I went back to school again. I became a pharmacist.
We live in an great nation.
Here in Hollywood, we had a young employee who was more “trained” in graphic design than another 3-year grad from Art Institute. Had ALL Adobe programs mastered to a degree than the other guys in the same dept. The hiring guy didnt say anything why he was hired. During the Christmas party, one of our senior guys asked him which college he graduated from and he said he didn’t. The only thing he said was College of Pirate Bay and Youtube”
What he did was download the bootleg versions off Pirate Bay, watched on youtube how to do graphic design, learned the programs manually and sent in his portfolio.
Yes, the cost of the degree has no relation to the calibre of the individual or of any real understanding, ability or ‘education’ received.
Businesses don’t generally hire ‘degrees’; they hire individuals.
(Case in point: AOC has a University degree, and can barely utter a single complex sentence sensibly...)
Once even if you had a degree in Philosophy you had also taken classes in advanced maths as well as English composition.
You knew the basics of how the world worked, you could do math, write a coherent report, turn your work in on time, get along with people of other cultures, all things that even now will get you a job.
You also did not think that you already knew everything.
In fact, if your collage had done their job properly you were extremely cognoscente of how much you did not know.
Not the case today.
there are one million jobs to go around to all the kids, nephews, nieces, and kids of friends of those who work in corporate and government America or those of sorority members. At 7% degreed, everybody got a job, even those from the lesser-knnwn schools. 7% degreed meant that degree was gifted or worked hard for. At 45%, the market is flooded but the connected are still going to get their jobs (see Malia, Chelsea, Hunter etal) leaving slim pickings for those who are not connected or were unable to form connectons during the college experience - the average student.
I did not because my degrees in Geology and Pharmacy and aviation had value.
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