A few days ago I wrote about college graduates working as cashiers and baristas, if they can find work at all. The percentage of recent grads who are unemployed or underemployed is at its highest level in more than a decade.
Here’s another angle on the same story: The interest rates on government-subsidized college loans are set to double July 1. Meanwhile, college tuition continues to rise faster than inflation, as it has for decades.
What we have here is a supply-and-demand issue. Basic economics says that if demand for something (broccoli, gasoline, real estate, etc.) rises or supply decreases, prices will rise. If demand falls or supply increases, prices will drop.
Rising tuition and higher interest rates on student loans make college more expensive. The “supply” of openings for new college students probably isn’t shrinking—colleges and universities haven’t suddenly decided to admit fewer students. But if the price of college can’t be explained by shrinking supply, you might guess it’s caused by higher demand.
Is the demand for college education going up? Should it be?
Studies estimate that someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn, on average, $650,000 more than someone without a degree. That’s one excellent reason to go to college.
But consider again all those cashiers and baristas with new degrees. Would they recommend college for today’s high school graduates?
I’m not saying fewer kids should go to college, or that colleges should somehow make their graduates more employable. But maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what a job qualification is. If a college degree doesn’t qualify someone for a better job, what does? What other factors and tools can employers use to find the best candidates? How can people connect with the jobs that make the most of their talents?
Are any other job search companies asking these kinds of questions?