20 January 2008

Future Jobs: College Grads Need Not Apply

In spite of growing levels of underemployment for college graduates, almost every child has the message "you've got to go to college" drilled into her. But seventy percent of the jobs in the top ten largest growing occupations will not require a college education, according to the Carnegie Foundations Change Magazine.
...the story of the top 10 occupations with the largest (rather than fastest) growth in number of jobs is different. The BLS expects these occupations to grow by 4,600,000 jobs—23.4 percent of the total increase in jobs from 2004 to 2014—while the top 30 will increase by 8,833,000, or 47 percent of the total increase. Seventy percent of these occupations do not require college; 30 percent do....The jobs that require postsecondary education credentials total 29 percent for 2004 and will rise to 31 percent by 2014. This is consistent with the very gradual increase in educational requirements that we have seen over the last six decades....Thus, while jobs requiring advanced education might be expanding rapidly, they still accounted for too small a share of the workforce to affect the average level of education needed for all jobs.

...Fewer young college graduates have been able to obtain college labor market jobs, and their real wages and annual earnings have declined accordingly due to rising mal-employment. These young college graduates take jobs that displace their peers with lower levels of schooling."...
Via Joanne Jacobs

Most workers in the foreseeable future will not need a college education. That does not mean they will be flipping burgers, or earning minimum wage. A growing population of the world's billionaires lack college degrees.

Most students appear to be focusing on jobs--working for someone else--life long employment. No surprise, since all the media can talk about is "jobs, jobs, jobs." Such jobs emphasis is 18th century thinking that belongs in the past. The focus in the 21st century should be upon assuming the mantle of personal responsibility as independent contractors. Government bureaucracies--firmly mired in the thinking of the past--are geared to "full employment" and enforce many job-related mandates for employers.

We will see a lot more "under-employed college graduates" as society's emphasis on the importance of a college education comes face to face with an economy that will mostly require "no college" or only "some college."

It is possible for many parents to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for their child's education, only to find the child is prepared only for a minimum wage level job. More and more, college graduates are qualified only to point out the many "injustices" of the society they are belatedly cast out into--as grown-up children, psychological neotenates. Many of these grown-up children will never assume responsibility, because learning to do so was never part of their education. Binge drinking? Yes. Hooking up? Yes. Blaming everyone else for problems? Yes. Self-responsibility? Sorry, no, never.

While most of the professors at universities are growing fixed and fossilized in their disconnect from the actual state and needs of the real world around them, more youth--particularly women--are pinning their hopes on the favourable job prospects bestowed by a college degree. Unfortunately, they are choosing degrees that will not give them appreciable advantage over associate degree holders, or even high school graduates. More injustice? To them, apparently so.

Hovering in the background, out of focus, is the impact that the quickly evolving internet will have on the jobs/education picture. In many fields, emphasis will be on "certification" in particular skills and specialised knowledge. Such certifications can be quickly updated to meet the actual state of technology and innovation in a particular field. On the job training combined with "certifications" will assume an ever more important role. And ever more certifications will be obtained via internet and internet based schools and programs.

Even in traditional degree paths, more education will be provided by internet based off-campus providers, or via virtual campus. A worker's education can grow as his job develops. Consider it "flex-training" or "flex-education."

More on this very important topic later.

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Blogger Richard Sharpe said...

The problem with being an independent contractor is the enormous amount of paperwork you have to engage in just to give the government its pound of flesh.

Startups are more interesting to me.

Sunday, 20 January, 2008  
Blogger kurt9 said...

The problem is credentialism. Companies use degree credentials as a means to screen candidates for a particular job. As more and more candidates have bachelor degrees, master degrees become necessary, just to keep you out of the herd.

As someone who is self-employed, I spend about 1 week a year just to do my federal income taxes.

Sunday, 20 January, 2008  
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Sunday, 20 January, 2008  
Blogger Audacious Epigone said...

As a job-holding prole who works with entrepreneurs like Kurt, I agree with both of his points. Degree credentialism could much more effectively be replaced by speciality and general aptitude testing. Despite all the empahsis put on the SAT and ACT, there's no evidence (that I'm aware of) showing that a Harvard education bolsters the post-grad score of its students relative to their pre-admission scores.

Tuesday, 22 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Richard: I agree. Startups and entrepreneurship are more interesting than running an established business or being an independent contractor. But all are important, and the experience gained in one area may be invaluable when moving to another.

Kurt and A.E.: Credentialism is important to "other people's companies." For your own company, you can set the rules yourself.

Friday, 25 January, 2008  

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