Today’s job market is an entirely different scenario than that faced by the previous generation and this changing landscape has given rise to conflicting opinions and even common misconceptions as to the value of education after high school. Due to the tighter economy it is an employer’s market and that means something must change.
The quest is do these changes mean that a college education is a guarantee or is valueless in getting a job?
Parents and counselors may insist that higher education is the only way to success and call up a host of arguments for that case. Other people may question if the degree is not just an expensive piece of paper and unnecessary debt. Still other people argue that the sheepskin actually hampers advancement in today’s economy. The fact is that all of these viewpoints have a tiny grain of truth to them just as most myths do.
The advice from parents and guidance counselors definitely comes from a generation where most individuals were uneducated and a degree was rare. A person with any degree in that day and age was rarer and considered one with intelligence and initiative. The graduate was almost guaranteed a decent job although the best jobs still went to those with the talent as well.
The graduate was almost guaranteed a decent job although the best jobs still went to those with the talent as well.
In the current economy, there are no guarantees of a good job for anyone unless one parent or another owns a business. On the other hand, it is almost a certainty that without a degree the average individual faces a tougher job market and lower pay when they do find a position. Individuals who hold a degree are generally compensated better and hold better jobs even in a tight job market.
Another point of view is to point out the number of unemployed college graduates seeking jobs as an argument against a higher education. This is true that there are a greater number of unemployed graduates than ever before. However, there are usually an equal number of high school educated persons who are unemployed. The difference between the two is that when the individual who has a degree lands a job, they will usually be compensated at a much better rate than the person with only a high school diploma.
Another common misconception is that any course of study at all will guarantee a decent job. On the other hand. others may argue that only a single degree plan such as a high-tech education is worthwhile. There is a small amount of truth to both views, but they are both incorrect. There are careers that are currently in demand as well as degrees that will be more difficult to find positions in. Graduates today should know their aptitudes, and examine the job growth for different careers in their area, the best degree plan is that which is in demand.
One more myth that has reached the status of an urban legend is that the graduate will be so overqualified that they can’t even get a menial job.
Like all the rest of the misconceptions, there is a grain of truth. Graduates may seek lower paying jobs if they will not or can not relocate to accept a position. Temporary agencies and service industries often seek these unemployed but well-educated individuals because of the skill they have gained during their education. Temporary jobs are available even to the individual who holds a degree if they are flexible and willing to adapt.
The key to all these myths is that they assume the graduate will be inflexible as regards what courses they choose, where they work and even where they live. Some myths even presuppose the person will graduate and expect a position to be handed to them, which is no longer a possibility for most. However if the graduate is flexible, does their homework on what careers are growing and which are not, and finally if they are willing towards the salary they hope for, the college education is incredibly valuable.