WSJ Article: …Grads May Be Stuck in Low-Skill Jobs

My comment is below.  Here is a link to the article and summary of the issue in the article that I commented on:

Summary:  1.  College graduates hired into low skilled jobs during the recession may be stuck there.  2.  A study seems to indicate that the high tech jobs aren’t there.3. David Autor, an economist at MIT.  Doesn’t necessarily agree.

I don’t totally agree either.  Here is a copy of my comment:

“We are seeing the results of what the noted sociologist, David Riesman, and the retired Chancellor of UC Berkeley, Clark Kerr, noted back in 1980. Clark Kerr wrote that the, “… shift from academic merit to student consumerism is one of the two greatest reversals of direction in all the history of American higher education…” and David Reisman wrote that “…advantage can still be taken of [students] by unscrupulous instructors and institutions…” (On Higher Education – The Academic Enterprise in an Era of Rising Student Consumerism, 1980)
If one looks in more detail at jobs for engineering and computer majors, I believe the data clearly indicates that students who really receive a good education have no problem getting a good job. In other words, it is not true that “skilled workers” are necessarily underemployed. What is true, is that “apparently skilled” – that is, “college degreed” – workers are not getting the jobs that they were misled to believe that they would get, and, because of their lack of skills, probably never will get. To make the point, here are some examples of salaries from (Average starting salary followed by still seeking job rate at about graduation time)
Carnegie-Mellon (Comp Sci) $79,551 (3% ) Carnegie-Mellon (Eng.) $64,427 (13%)
Ohio State (Eng and Comp Sci) $58,533 (29%) U. of Alabama (Eng. and Comp Sci) Not Reported (32%)

These numbers validate what I saw as a professor over many years. To get a degree from a top school like Carnegie, one must learn well. To get a degree from many other schools, one may be able to learn well, but not necessarily. I have personally had university administrators put tremendous pressure on me to lower my standards so that all students, even ones the administrator knew was cheating, would pass and stay in engineering.
Two final points. Obviously, the data I just gave are vague, but, as I said, they fit what I have seen on the inside. The second point is that it probably is true that hardworking, talented people, in spite of a poor college education, would have gotten a good job before the recession and performed well at work. Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen as much now.”

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