Phi Beta Cons

Re: Economic Outlook

I’m glad that Allison brought up the question of the employment outlook for college grads. It doesn’t look good for those who hope for “good” jobs. This year the overflow of college grads into “high school” jobs that don’t really call for any academic accomplishments will be greater than it usually is.

It’s most enlightening to go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics site, where you can find out about the educational credentials of people who are in a vast array of jobs. You’ll find there plenty of evidence that even in our “information economy,” a lot of graduates end up doing work that you could train most 10th graders to do. Just a small sample: 55 percent of the people working in employment recruiting and placement have BA degrees, as do 45 percent of insurance sales people, 58 percent of probation officers, 33 percent of dental hygienists, 54 percent of fashion designers, 38 percent of court reporters, 47 percent of fitness and aerobics instructors, 32 percent of massage therapists, and 42 percent of purchasing agents.
The politicians who are pushing for more “access” to higher ed are in effect saying, “Let’s spend more money to process more young people through college so they can compete with high school grads for work that requires only on-the-job training.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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