This is interesting.

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.

3 thoughts on “Undervalued

  1. Pingback: Friday morning links, late - Maggie's Farm

  2. When I went over to Germany to help set up a chemistry lab, i.e., make sure they knew what they were doing, I discovered that they train very specifically in their schools. Their graduates know how to use their training very well. Americans, though, I figured out at the time, learn the basics, then OJT teaches us, those who succeed, how to really do our jobs.

    Some of the German analytical guys were fantastic. Nailed every analytical procedure and gnarly problem. Others, PhDs, could not get past their schooling, and insisted on doing the same things they were taught, the same way, regardless of the erroneous results, and insistent that their German solvents were the “best in the world” – though solvent contamination and degradation was their main problem. Could not convince the dumb ones. Smart ones got it, right away, and changed their methods.

    That said…I have a friend graduated with a Marketing degree after he got out of the Army in the 70’s. Went into carpentry and has been doing it, ever since.

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