The shampooer with a BA

Too many college graduates are underemployed, writes Christopher Matgouranis of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. He offers a Bureau of Labor Statistics chart showing the percentage of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree in careers that typically don’t require higher education.

Profession
Flight attendants…………………………………….. 29.8%
Retail salespersons………………………………….. 24.5%
Customer service representatives…………… 21.6%
Baggage porters and bellhops………………….. 17.4%
Secretaries (not legal/medical/executive). 16.6%
Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks………… 16.1%
Telemarketers…………………………………………. 15.8%
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs……………………. .15.2%
Manicurists and pedicurists……………………… 11.5%
Shampooers…………………………………………… .11.5%
Locksmiths and safe repairers………………… 10.2%
Telecomm. installers & repairers…………… 13.1%

A large increase in the number of college degrees will leave more graduates in debt and underemployed, he writes. Degree inflation will soar.

. . . a quick search of monster.com will show that for many jobs, such as an office clerk or administrative assistant, a college degree is preferred or even required, when the work entails tasks that high school/ vocational grads could easily handle.

Society should focus more resources on vocational education leading to a certificate, “a less costly and more effective alternative,” he concludes.

Of course, those college-educated shampooers and bellhops may enjoy the intellectual benefits of higher education, even if they’re working in a field that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Some are young people who will get a chance to use their degree eventually.

But a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee a middle-class job any more. Nothing does. For the career-minded, a two-year degree or less-than-two-year certificate could be a better investment of time and money.


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON October 19, 2010

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Marktropolis

Perhaps the reason folks are underemployed is because, you know, there’s this recession going on? Also, you may want to add a disclaimer or two for the original post – coming from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which falls under the umbrella of the American Enterprise Institute. And they don’t exactly have a sterling record when it comes to issues of equity and higher ed. In other words, CCAP has already shown its cards in the past by pushing the argument that *maybe* not every one should got to college. Not to mention the presumption that getting a BA equals getting a job.

Add to that the reality that for most of the jobs listed above, if the individual wants to advance at all (from say a shampooer) there would in fact be some postsecondary training or certification required to climb that ladder. My son just got a hot job straight out of high school – but he knows he won’t get very far with out college.

Obviously, if what you’re looking for is a job, then you pursue that route educationally (if it’s required). But there are a bunch of folks out there who just want to got to college becasuse, well because they’ll benefit from it.

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