Shelling out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for higher education may no longer be the surefire path to a great career that it used to be. A recent report compiled by the education resource group OnlineColleges.net found that more than 300,000 Americans with either Master's degrees or Ph.D.s were receiving food stamps in 2010 -- and many more are likely on some form of government assistance today as economic conditions since that time have only continued to worsen.
A resident (top) receives food stamps after handed in a pistol during the "Guns Exchange Program" at a working class neighbourhood in Monterrey February 9, 2011. The State Government kicked off a program to swap weapons for food stamps to promote voluntary disarmament in the state of Nuevo Leon. More than 100 people, including 20 policemen, have been killed in drug violence in the city and its environs since New Year's Day.
To give a point of reference as to how bad the situation truly is, there were fewer than 100,000 Americans with Master's degrees or Ph.D.s on food stamps in 2007, which means the overall number of people with extensive college educations on government assistance more than tripled in just three years. And if this trend continued at the same rate between 2010 and 2013, the total number of college educated on government assistance today has easily eclipsed more than half a million, and with no end in sight.
According to the latest government data, more than 5,000 people working right now as custodians have Ph.D.s they are not using, and another more than 100,000 people with at least a bachelor's degree currently work in some sort of custodial position. A whopping 80,000-or-so people with at least a bachelor's degree also currently work as attendants at amusement parks and other recreational facilities, while nearly 320,000 college graduates currently work as servers at restaurants and cafes.
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly one in three college graduates works in a job the Labor Department says requires less than a bachelor's degree," explains an infographic created by OnlineColleges.net. You can view that infographic here:
Not enough jobs or not enough intuition?
As you will clearly see, the numbers on the graph are shocking, to say the least. They point to a very serious problem either with our educational system or with our economic system, or both. Getting a Master's degree or a Ph.D. typically takes a lot of time, effort, and money -- so why are an increasing number of educated folks finding it so difficult to get a job in their field that they are having to resort to menial labor positions for which they are overqualified?
The most obvious answer is that economic conditions have become so dire that there simply are not enough available high-paying positions out there for people with college educations. And for many college graduates and people with Ph.D.s, the prospect of finding a job in their field is just unusually slim, perhaps due to the fact that their area of study was too narrow and impractical. Getting a Master's degree in Native American studies, for instance, will more than likely not generate the same level or volume of high-paying jobs as, say, a Master's degree in biology would.
Another possible explanation is that today's college graduates simply do not possess the same level of drive and ingenuity that college graduates from previous generations had. This is merely speculation, of course, but it seems as though many college graduates lack the guidance and know-how to successfully navigate the working world following graduation. What do you think the primary reasons are that an increasing number of college graduates are unable to find well-paying jobs in their appropriate fields?
Follow us on LinkedIn