Thursday, August 30, 2012

College workers working in factories

Should the present generation go to college so they can work in factories and secretarial pools? It used to be that going to college was a way out of blue-collar work and low end clerical jobs. But if Raghu Rajan is right, then this should no longer be the expectation. Factory and clerical work are now highly skilled jobs that require college degrees.

How true does this ring? Proponents of upskilling would say that this is certainly plausible. Left leaning economists would probably decry this trend - this is the future for the next generation? Classical economics could predict this outcome in a model where demand for skilled labor is fixed or growing slowly but the supply of college educated workers is growing faster.

Here’s an article I found in the NYT:

Ms. Santiago, 36, has an associate’s degree from a local community college, but said that employers wanted to see more from job candidates. She lost her last full-time job in 2007, and has worked in low wage jobs without benefits through a temporary agency ever since.

“They even want a degree to be a secretary,” said Ms. Santiago, picking up her 8-year-old son at the center.      

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