I value education. I have a degrees in physics and engineering, and my wife is a professor. A few years ago I was invited back to my high school to be a guest speaker at an honor graduate dinner. As someone who didn’t graduate with honors I found that a bit ironic. That said, in my talk I told the soon-to-be honor graduates to think long and hard before they automatically went off to college. College, I told them, is a big mistake for many people. It makes sense to go if you know that what you want to do requires a degree (especially a specific degree) to unlock the door. Otherwise it can be a very expensive waste of time. There are other, cheaper ways to find yourself if that is what you are going there to do. If you are going to go, go with purpose and measure the cost. Otherwise don’t go until (unless) you are ready.
The biggest irony of all was a short time after my talk I found out from the principal that not only was I not invited back; I was uninvited. It seems the parents in the room did not appreciate my telling their adult children that college wasn’t the only option. You don’t, after all, learn to weld if you graduate with a 3.7 GPA. I wish I could do a poll of those graduates and see who has net positive ROI on their education “investment”.
This from Yahoo:
Job Market Faces New Problem, Hitting One Unlucky Group Really Hard
It’s not as if the job market is blazing hot for anyone lately, but new data shows that one key demographic group that has historically been a leader, is now badly falling behind.
According to Nick Colas, the chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, recent graduates under 25 years-old are in a particularly bad spot right now.
“It’s usually college grads that do well,” Colas says in the attached video.”They get the first time jobs, they’re pretty cheap to employ, and generally have pretty high job satisfaction.”
But, he says since the recession new government data shows that this unlucky group stands out in three key ways like never before.
Overqualified: 52% of recent grads are in jobs where a college degree is not required. Colas calls this the “most startling” new problem, and says it clearly leads to high job dissatisfaction, which itself leads to other problems.
Job Hunting at Work: Almost one in three recent grads admit to looking for a new job while on the clock at their current job. “While they’re at work doing job A, they’re looking for job B,” he says.
Huge Pay Cuts: Despite ever increasing average tuition costs for a four-year degree ($63,000 public, $130,000 private), the pay-out when the cap and gown comes off is actually going down. In fact, Colas says recent grads now earn about $3,200 less today than they did in 2000. “It’s much less, up to 30% less in many cases,” he says.
Of course, the driving factor behind this new post-collegiate hardship is a very sluggish recovery following the great recession of 2008. Another facet adding to the problem is the fact that fewer people are retiring at 65, and are choosing to work longer to beef-up their retirement nest-eggs which were slammed during the financial crisis.
“Older workers are actually the big growth area,” Colas says, and “younger workers are the ones that are really taking it on the chin.” He calls this structural employment problem ”a big change” from prior recoveries and says the findings raise an important question.
“One is, what does college prepare you to do?” he says. “That’s a big problem because colleges charge you a lot of money, but you don’t necessarily get a big pay off at the end of it.”