Jul 13, 2011
There was an interesting article on Yahoo recently about the cost of a college education and the casualties of graduates who still struggle to pay off that debt.
The question that looms is…”Is a college degree really worth the time and money invested?”
The article gave several examples of students in varying states of post graduation just swimming in the debt they racked up during their years of completing the higher education.
I am going to comment on this from two perspectives: The first of which is a personal perspective.
My husband went to a large university and earned a four year degree. After setting off into the working world, he found that his degree was not useful in the least and the jobs that he was being offered with that degree were laughably just above minimum wage.
So he proactively decided to take his knowledge and experience and apply it in a community/trade school and get a separate, specialized two-year degree in X-ray. He has since moved into vascular ultrasound, been trained on the job and is making far more money now with that specialized two year degree than he ever would have with his initial large university diploma.
The second side of this however, is professional. I work for an IT staffing company. We have weekly meetings where we discuss the outcome of client meetings and candidate presentations. While the old adage used to ring true that it was an either/or situation…either our candidates had a degree or an acceptable number of years experience…the resounding theme lately is that companies are more and more looking for the verification of a college degree.
So why is that?
Here’s our take on the situation. The economy is slowly rebounding – yes. However, there are still many many people out of work. And many many people desperate to find work. Employers are looking at this as their market. They want the best possible candidate with the best possible experience and the best possible degree. They are looking for it all.
However, this is a very industry-specific issue. The IT industry, while affected by the recession, was not hit nearly as hard as say..real estate or finance. For IT employers who expect they can have it all, the expectations may be set too high.
The other half of this is the perception that job seekers desperation will lead them to accept much lower paying positions. The overwhelming response in our meetings when a job order is not filled is that the position just isn’t paying enough for the skill requirement.
High level IT professionals and subject matter experts are out there. We have them in our database and we can find them for any company looking. But in turn the expectation must be realistic, the pay must be fair and the benefits must be rewarding.