Of those aged 25 to 34 in the civilian labor force, how many have bachelor's degrees or higher?
Click to enlarge.
This is yet another parabola doomed to fail, for it will not be possible to exceed 100%.
The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely "rational" individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.
Let's say two high school seniors named John and Jane both really want a particular job in their small farming community. The job does not require a college education, but higher education would still be preferable. They are the only two people who will apply for it. The previous person who has that job will be retiring in 4 years. What should they do?
If John goes to college, then Jane must also go to college in order to compete. If Jane goes to college, then John must also go to college in order to compete. It would be in both of their best interests if they cooperated and neither went to college. Going to college pushes both of them into debt and if they both go, neither will have the advantage over the other.
I think that's where we are at in this country. That's why we're seeing the parabola in the chart. Unfortunately, jobs requiring college degrees are not growing as a parabola. Not even close. In my opinion, the number of heavily indebted overqualified workers in jobs that really shouldn't require a college degree will continue at an ever alarming rate. Sigh.
I don't see what can reverse the trend until it finally reaches the ultimate breaking point. College is becoming the new high school, only with extra debt and with four more wasted years. That's not true for everyone obviously, but for many workers it is. The advantage of going to college is being lost for those who will ultimately end up in jobs that don't require it.
Unfortunately, I don't see an alternative. Even if you end up in a job that doesn't require a college degree, you may still need the degree just to get it. All things being equal, most employers would choose the more educated worker. I'm therefore not offering "do not go to college" advice. I'm simply trying to point out the reality of what is happening. When it comes to college education for the masses, especially those who ultimately end up in low paying jobs even with a college degree, the glass is half full, and leaking.
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