University degrees become "irrelevant" to employers

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    This article claims that university degrees become "irrelevant" to big employers.
    The move apparently comes as smaller employers are shifting away from hiring graduates or university students, believing kids are coming out of university with "no real skills" or simply being taught the wrong things.
    http://www.news.com.au/finance/work...s/news-story/8a0340dd2b8e70e35b8ce3302c8d0cc5

    So, what would be the future of education? Knowledge-based instead of degree-based?
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    So who are they hiring instead?

    On the one hand, if employers were capable of evaluating knowledge they should have been doing that long ago - especially small firms. Why would a very small firm screen for credentials of knowledge in the first place? On the other, since employers are not capable of evaluating knowledge without credentials, and the credentials have never been guarantees of knowledge, it's clear the credentials have never been of knowledge but of something else. And they have become less valuable as certifications of that.

    What it sounds like is that they have given up on hiring knowledge or family connection either one, and are hiring personality or character with a view toward inculcating the knowledge themselves. That's reasonable, if they really can evaluate personality and character via their HR department - I think most big enough to have an HR department will find themselves disappointed in the results.

    Regardless, the next step is corporate supported internal schools. When those turn out to be ossifying failures vulnerable to bureaucracy and bloat within the organization, they will outsource them (thereby getting the failures off their books). Pretty soon it will occur to them that having somebody else absorb the inherent local inefficiencies of education would be a very good idea. If that doesn't end up in taxpayer funded public schooling, count me surprised.

    In the old days in the US, the unions did some of this. In the older days in Europe, the guilds did this stuff. Recently some poaching of foreign setups has been paying off. Anything but paying out of pocket from the executive bonus fund.

    For a long time now businessmen have been trying to find a magic way to hire good people without involving genuinely competent people put to a lot of expensive trouble doing the hiring. That's how they got trapped in the empty credential hole in the first place - it used to make a bit of sense, when one could get a feel for family and political ties (valuable in business) from the source of the credentials, and only the unusually able could present credentials obtained without such ties. It doesn't any more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
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  5. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    Companies still need some easy way to see the qualification of an candidate. Running the candiates through assessmenrt procedudres to find their real skills is slow and expensive, thus only suitable for a small number of candidates.

    The recruiters will want degrees which they can use to find good candidates. So degrees won't vanish, but change.

    In the past we had a threefold system and the degrees reflected that

    - broad and deep theretical training, little practical training (Diplom)
    - theory, but much school-like education with emphasis on practical knowledge (Diplom/FH)
    - less theory but part time study in companies, thus alredy used to the domain (Diplim/BA)

    The last reform wiped this. Only the middle level is left. And since this reform became effective, complaints about bad but graduated candidates rather increased in numbers. I suspect the real driver for the reform was not to have better education, but the same grades like the USA - bachelor and master. Bachelor was not existing before the reform, and "Diplom" was sometimes more than a master, sometimes less, depending on the domain. But the three levels of Diplom, Diplom FH and Diplom BA, helped recruiters to select candidates with a more theoretical or more practical training.

    The downgrade started while I was studying. Unlike the USA, Universities were free over here, and when I started to study I actually could have had studied as long and as broad as I wanted to. In hindsight, I think it was a mistake that I didn't do it, but on the other hand, it saved me some money, because avbout ion the middle of my study time they put a limit on how long Universitity is free, and I could finish within the deadline.

    From that point, studying became more and more regulated, less and les freedom for the students to choose what to learn and how much of it. Before the change you got a degree in one domain, but you could take tests in as many domains as you wanted, and it was honored, because it showed that you were eager to learn and tried to widen your horizon.

    Now all this is gone, and people are like clones, each "Master" or "Bachelor" learned exactly the same. Mass production for education, while before it's been a quite individual thing, both in depth and broadness, at least in the universities (the other two branches were always more school-like, but intentionally, to allow people to chose, and to have diversity).

    What really bugs me is the time limit - at times I'd like to study again, but I can't afford it, since I am over the limit of free semesters, and will have to pay.

    May sound odd to people from countries where one always has to pay for university, but here it's quite the change - unlimited free education in the past, and now with quite hard time limits, and no more free education afterwards. A certain amount of socialism wasn't so bad at all :/
     
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  7. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    There has been a trend in HR for years to match employees to the culture of the firm. The source for this article really is that many firms are actually taking this HR trend seriously and are looking for more than simply a degree.

    Since pretty much everyone will have to have a degree to get a job in many states, this will not make a degree irrelevant.
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The only reason for requiring a college degree in most jobs is to provide some assurance that the person has obtained a decent high school education.

    And shrink the pool of applicants to manageable, of course.
     
  9. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Aside from technical skills, one of the primary reasons employers hire University graduates is compliance.
     
  10. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Good observation.

    That, or entitled and coddled women's studies graduates are just a huge liability.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Looking for less than a degree, is the matter at hand
    No meaningful college degrees can be granted to more than about 40% of the population - if that.
     
  12. brucep Valued Senior Member

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    Very informative and I concur. The oligarchy is interested in anti intellectualism so it's not surprising they don't want to pay folks for having acquired scholarship they think doesn't add anything to the bottom line. An erroneous evaluation from my experience. Frequently the peter principle has serious consequences for the bottom line in a negative way. For example promoting engineers into managerial postitions. Can't count the times a talented engineer was promoted into managerial obscurity. No wonder they think folks coming out of college have 'no real skills'.
     
  13. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I still believe a degree is useful, providing you choose a profession that is in demand. I do know of a gentleman with two business degrees who spent more than two years trying to land a job, eventually having to start on the bottom. Even then the job didn't work out.

    I think our manufacturing base is becoming more digitize--CNC machining and the like. A trade school at a local community college would probably go farther than, say, a degree in gender studies. We will always need engineers, technicians, scientists, etc. They just are not in as high demand as they once were, simply because there is more competition abroad. Also, I don't believe a business degree holds much promise from what I've seen--unless your aim is to build your own business.

    Yep, if I were to do it again, I would have enrolled in a trade school.
     
  14. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    Additional point: A degree at least documents the ability of the person to acquire information and reproduce this information. In a lesser extend also, to make use of the acquried information.

    Briefly said: if you hire someone with a degree, you know they are able to learn, and they are used to learning.
     
  15. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    The article doesn't make any attempt to answer that obvious question, which makes it a pretty pointless article. All it says is the requirements are being removed from the applications. It doesn't discuss if/how that actually changes who is hired.

    I'll point out that in many fields where certain specific skills/knowledge are required (doctor, lawyer, engineer), certain degrees are required by law or as a matter of professional standards (AIA, PE, CFA, etc). The types of jobs described in the article don't necessarily require degrees simply because they aren't skilled jobs. They are simply the white-color equivalent of unskilled laborer. There are a huge number of people graduating from college who learned nothing in particular of any relevance to anything in real life. They are the ones who end up in mindless "Office Space" jobs or worse, serving coffee at Starbucks.
     
  16. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    And to accomplish such an administrative task large enough to take four years. That sounds pretty useful as a measure of perseverance unless you consider that it may have just been something to do to burn the time between parties. And I think for useless degrees that's why "I did 'something' that took four years" is losing its lustre as an accomplishment.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    If you regard education as vocational training, maybe college isn't for you.
     
  18. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Was that directed at me? Not sure exactly what that is in response to, but in my opinion, unless a person is independently wealthy or husband-hunting, college is should be nothing but vocational training.
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    College as "nothing but" vocational training is a waste of time and money. Go to trade school, "business school", etc. Even the military provides better bang for one's vocational training buck than a silly college.

    And please leave political leadership, religious leadership, etc, to the educated adults - or at least listen to them, ok? We've seen what ignorance does in politics - it ain't pretty.
     
  20. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    I did go to a "trade school" - it is called Drexel University; College of Engineering. I went for the sole purpose of training to become an engineer.
     

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