Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is paper qualification important in today's society?

We are taught that with good qualification in master or degree, we can land into better job positions and better salary than our parents' generation. However, this trend doesn't reflect in the current economy. More and more fresh college and university students are graduating each year. Thus, they are facing a very competitive market with limited and low job prospects offered in the market. What's more, some of them have to take up the jobs which have nothing to do with their qualification in order to support themselves and settle their college debts (student loans). 

In the past few months, we saw a lot of protests and riots occurred in Turkey, Egypt, Spain and London, UK due to the problem of high unemployment rate in their countries. According to the recent report, the unemployment rate in Turkey was 9.4%, Egypt (11.9%), Spain (20.9%) and UK (7.9%) as well as imposing higher tuition fees in the universities in the UK. Apart from that, the locals also protest and demand their government to tackle the problems of higher cost of living and food pricing in their countries. In the United States, the current unemployment rate was reported at 9.1%.

Is college and university a good personal investment for your future? Can the paper qualification guarantee you the job security once you graduate from college and university? Here are some of the video clips which reflect on the fresh graduates in the United States, UK, China, Australia and Jordan who are facing dilemma without jobs or being underpaid because there are too many white collar graduates when there is a limited / less jobs opportunity in the market during the recession. I believe, there are many other countries facing similar problems. When there are too many white collar graduates in the market, the employers become more demanding when they are looking for candidates.

1) With the paper qualification, can you be able to find better salary and good job position when you graduate?
2) Can you able to pay back the college/university investment (either on your tuition debts or parents' sponsorship) after working for 10 years?
3) Is the paper qualification really valuable these days compared to our parents' generation?

In the United States, nearly every fresh graduate student carries his/her college debt (student loans) from US$70,000 and above before landing into workforce. With a solid college education, some may end up with jobless for a longer period and some of them decide to take up any jobs such as janitor, sales consultant at retail outlets, sales & marketing or parking attendant without concerning about their qualifications.

(Updated from MSNBC dated Sept 16th 2011): Is College worth it? Grads face brutal job market, huge debts in the United States:

(updated) Graduate from Information Technology (IT) struggle to find employment despite leaving university with the skills necessary but without the experience employers in this area require in the UK. Currently, it is reported 1 out of 5 graduate students are able to find job.

In China, having a university degree doesn't pay off as it used to be. China produced 6.3 million graduates in 2010. Figures from 2009 indicate 13% of last years 6.1 million graduates were unable to find a job. That's 793,000 graduates without a job. With more and more college students graduating each year, white collar salaries are being driven down, and graduates have to compete for limited job offers in China's big cities. The starting salary for fresh graduate is between 2000 yuan to 3000 yuan (between US$313 to US$468) per month. With this kind of starting salary, the graduates are barely survived in a high living standard in China. (I even felt the pinch and overpriced when I was in China compared to the living standard in the United States. Everything is extremely expensive in China except for the public transportation.)

In Jordan, unemployment is thought to be as high as 30%, although the official data puts it at 13.4% in 2010

(updated) On the other hand, the graduate teachers are also facing unemployment in Australia due to economic crisis, as reported early 2011. It's the similar scenario in California when the state government had to retrench many teachers, police officers, firemen and government staff in order to cut down budget spending in 2010.

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