We Don't Need As Many College Grads As People Think
You've suspected this for a long time. Me, too.
Look around at the growth of technical specialties, professional 'assistant' roles, and retail employees. Then look at the charts below:
It's important to differentiate between media headlines and sound bites that scream, "Ten fastest growing occupations!" at some given moment in time. The consequences could be far-reaching: Do we really need to be sending Brittany, Madison, Monroe (and maybe even John Quincy) into Saturday SAT tutoring to bump up those scores from 1218 to 1241?
Caveat: Just in case you think I'm dumping on the advantages of a good education, I'm not. I've been a public school teacher and college administrator in an earlier life. Which is also where I first began looking more carefully at the relationship between "what is taught" with "what is needed." Thus, the use of the term "good education."
If you look at the top chart of the 10 occupations with the highest rate of growth, you'll see that six require either an associate or bachelor's degree while the other four require short to moderate OJT.
Seventy percent of the the top 10 with the largest growth don't require college; 30 percent do.
Here is another graphic to tweak your career/talent/education synapses:
Add up the actual percentage of jobs requiring a Bachelor's Degree or more--now and in 2014--and you might be surprised at the results.The Education/Job Implications?
Here are just a few that come to mind:
1. Is there a realistic connection, beginning early in public schools, with what is really going to be helpful to job candidates and employers?
2. Same question for colleges and universities.
3. The biggest piece of the pie (OK, Bar Chart) belongs to On-The-Job-Training. Yet the figures I've seen published in ASTD and other sources show that large companies are cutting back; (medium and smaller companies are actually increasing their T&D investment).
4. Is the intense competition--and unbelievable tense high school prep--an unhealthy response to an overstated and misunderstood need?
I want to be clear that what I've presented so far is designed to
take interested readers to a more complete and fully contextual article in The Carnegie Mellon Change Magazine. The synopsis above is from the
article. Kudos to Paul E. Barton on his clear and easy-to-digest
explanations of the facts, the evidence and some of the implications in
Many Çollege Graduates Does the U.S. Really Need? He also does a
nice job of clarifying the distinctions between fast-growing and largest
growth; two terms that are often tossed around without a closer look at
what they are really saying.
When it comes to Talent and thinking systemically about it, we can't
ignore the institutions who educate and supply the workforce. We can and
should question whether the current system is designed to effectively
produce what, and who, is needed. Although these figures represent the U.S., the readers here at All Things Workplace are
totally global. What are you seeing that may reflect a
mismatch between your education system and real-life workplace needs?