‘Degree Inflation’ Takes Its Toll

Here’s some more evidence for those who wonder whether a
college degree is “worth it.” The online job portal CareerBuilder announced last week  that more employers are requiring their employees to hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. 27 percent of the surveyed employers  said that they increased “educational requirements” for obtaining a job in the past five years, while 30 percent are now consider college-graduates for positions they used to offer to high-schoolers.

None of this information is particularly novel. For the past
few years the Center for College Affordability and Productivity has warned about the “underemployment” of college graduates, pointing to the startling statistic that 48 of American college graduates hold jobs that Bureau of Labor Statistics believes requires less than a four- year degree. As Career Builder put it, a college degree “is increasingly becoming the new high school diploma.”

The fact that employers are offering the same jobs to college students that they once offered high-school graduates indicates that these jobs haven’t become more demanding. Rather, both growth in the number of college graduates as well as the perception that college grads are more competent have led  to  serious This trend sends a paradoxical message to high-schoolers: you should definitely go to college, but you should hope your friends don’t.

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One thought on “‘Degree Inflation’ Takes Its Toll”

  1. This is the main reason why it appears that college degrees are a good “investment” — the kinds of jobs that remain open to people who haven’t gotten one keep going down. Non-college workers are steadily being confined to a smaller and lower-paid part of the labor market.

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