The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that underemployment will continue to increase in the United States:
- In the decade between 2012 and 2022, it is estimated there will be a net increase of 15.6M+ jobs. Only 4.2M+ of those jobs will require a college degree. ~9M will require nothing more than a high school diploma (if that).
- Of the 10 occupations that are projected to have the largest job growth, none require a bachelor's degree. 6 of the top 10 jobs--including personal care aids, construction laborers, and retail salespersons--don't require a high school diploma. Only 1 job--a registered nurse--requires an associate's degree.
- Of the top 30 jobs in projected job growth, only 5 require a bachelor's degree. Those include: general and operations managers; elementary school teachers; accountants and auditors; software developers; and, management analysts.
The Motley Monk would suggest that this nothing surprising. It's nothing more than a matter of simple economics: Supply is greater than demand. Today, there are more college graduates than jobs requiring those degrees.
In a Bloomberg op-ed, economist Richard Vedder writes that this increase in the number of college graduates is now negatively impacting less-educated job seekers. With so many young Americans possessing college degrees, Vedder argues, employers are narrowing applicant pools by raising educational requirements. For example, administrative assistants don't need a bachelor's degree, but employers are beginning to insist that applicants have them. In turn, this trend of underemployment among the college educated is increasing unemployment among the lesser educated.
That's an accurate analysis, The Motley Monk would note. But, Vedder doesn't state that this trend also happens to be depressing salaries for degree-holding workers.
Interestingly, Vedder believes this problem can only be solved by reforming the financing of higher education. As long as the federal government provides student loans to every qualifying student regardless of prospects for academic success, the U.S. will continue to have large numbers of indebted college graduates occupying low-paying jobs.
Vedder's analysis may be accurate, The Motley Monk would note. But, Vedder may be assuming--like President Obama--that a college education and degree is a "right" and, thus, the federal government should be providing yet another entitlement. That would be accurate only if the purpose of college is for jobs and manual skills training.
Didn't that used to be called "vo-tech" (as in "vocational technical education")?
Let the discussion begin...
To read Richard K. Vedder's article in Bloomberg news, click on the following link:
"Congrats on That Diploma. You May Not Need It"