Employees with degrees in fields like English, general studies, and graphic design are among the most likely to report feeling “underemployed” at their current jobs. This is according to a recent survey of 68,000 workers by salary information firm PayScale.
Liberal arts majors (I’m one of them!) are used to being the punchline in jokes about un- and underemployment. But more unexpectedly, majorities of graduates with more “practical” degrees in fields like business administration also said their jobs didn’t put their education, training or experience to work as much as they should.
What is left out is the fact there are maybe 1,000 business majors for every one physics major, maybe more. According to this paper, physics majors are 0.36% of all undergrad degrees. Frankly, that seems high, but they include minors in the total. The point being that the typical business major is wasting his time and money getting a degree in business. Unless he is also getting a degree in accounting, he is learning nothing of value in college.
The sad truth is we turned college into a quasi-IQ test. If you get into Harvard, it means you have a top-5% IQ or your parents are loaded. Young people at state colleges are paying $50K to get a piece of paper that tells future employers they can sit still, follow directions and have basic literacy and numeracy. The private school degree adds the claim of an above average IQ. It also costs $100K for the diploma.
We really would be better off letting employers administer IQ tests again. Blacks would not like it, but employers will still need to have vibrancy. Passing a literacy test freely offered by an employer beats paying a college $50K for it. It certainly beats having a trillion dollar student debt bubble that is about to burst.