Monday, June 08, 2009

A Misallocation of Human Capital?

By Jonathan Leirer

Forbes magazine has published an article on their website listing "The 10 Hardest Jobs To Fill In America", a list generated by Manpower, Inc’s “2006 Talent Shortage Survey Results”. One particularly striking feature of this list is the prevalence of jobs which either do not require a college education at all or require an education that could be acquired in a two-year community or technical college. It illustrates the failure of the American educational system in generating workers for essential, often lucrative, careers such as nursing, skilled labor (carpenter/electrician), or IT staff, while simultaneously overproducing workers with limited practical/marketable skills, leaving many indebted and unemployed.

As we at CCAP have observed for quite some time, America is guiding too many resources – tax dollars and promising youth alike – towards often unnecessary 4-year degree programs when there remain great untapped benefits to be reaped from redirecting those resources to 2-year programs, technical colleges and apprenticeship programs. I’m not sure exactly how the idea that a bachelor’s degree is a necessary prerequisite to success became ingrained within the American psyche, but this stigma is now bearing a bitter fruit. Charles Murray can attest to this. Hopefully studies like these will help to inform parents and students on the true state of the market and promote smart, effective change in Higher Ed.

1 comment:

capeman said...

"engineer is the hardest job to fill in America.

Other professions on the staffing firm Manpower's ( MAN - news - people ) list of the 10 hardest jobs to fill in the U.S.: information technology staffer, nurse, machinist and teacher."

Let's see, at least four of the five arguably require or benefit from a college degree.

Oh, and the article says engineer requires "stellar" math and science performance.

Not exactly something the colleges can require or deliver on demand.