Growing up I was always told that doing well at school and ultimately getting a degree level education was the best way to earn good money and be easily employable. It makes sense when you think about it, put in the hard work and effort and you should be rewarded for it in the long run.
Lately though, I have been questioning the value of a college or university level of education. Not only does it cost a lot of time and money, but there are no guarantees that you will land a job when you’re finished. Even if you do find a job, there are no guarantees you will be paid a handsome income.
Living in Australia, I’ve seen first hand what can happen when a boom takes hold (we’ve been riding a mining boom for a long time now) and there are just not enough people to fill the jobs on offer. What ends up happening is that some of the highest paid people often have little or no skill sets. I remember reading about truck drivers working at mine sites who were making over $200,000 a year, with no experience or degree required.
People assume that someone with a quality education will out earn those who don’t. There is also an assumption by employers that candidates who possess a degree or a doctorate are going to be the best candidates, however, it’s not always the case. More and more often I am hearing about students who are able to attain a degree by using services like thepensters.com to have a thesis or essay written for them. Sure these people are taking a risk, but most people get away with it without any consequences and will be just as qualified on paper as those people who do the course unassisted.
I always thought that eventually when the mining boom slowed down all these people earning big money without any type of formal education would be the ones that were impacted the hardest, but it turns out that isn’t entirely true either. You see, the mining boom is now bust, and while many of the highly paid truck drivers are no longer needed, I also know that highly skilled workers like Engineers are also getting laid off in just as large numbers.
As I work in an engineering company, it’s been really hitting home for me lately, considering we seem to be in a perpetual state of staff cuts (mainly degree qualified Engineers). It’s not just our company either, if you check the job market, there just isn’t much work going for these people who want to use their degree at a job. There are plenty of trade and retail style jobs available, but if you are going to go for one of them, why bother getting your degree in the first place?
The scary thing is that I only see this problem getting worse so long as people in places like India and China are able to supply the same level of quality skills at a fraction of the cost. I’ve seen the writing on the wall for a little while now, hence why I am always working on my side business, however, not everyone will prepared for this and there will be hundreds of thousands of kids finishing university with massive amounts of debt and very few employment opportunities for them to take part in.