The other side is using more educated people.
At the very least it seems as if more employers are using bachelor’s degrees as a signal of drive or talent, regardless of of the relevance of the skills actually learned in college.
That is one implication of an analysis from Burning Glass, a company that analyzes job ads from over 20,000 online sources ranging from major job boards to small and midsize employer sites. The company’s chief executive, Matthew Sigelman, says that employers are increasingly requiring college degrees for positions that did not traditionally require higher education.
I asked his company to compile a list of occupations that have shown the most “up-credentialing” in the last five years — that is, occupations whose job ads were significantly more likely to name college diplomas as a prerequisite in 2012 than they were in 2007.
Here is a look at the 10 occupations with the biggest percentage increases in requiring a college degree.
*2012 data is from Nov. 1, 2011, to Oct 31, 2012
Occupation title 2007-12* Growth in % of Posted Jobs Advertising for a Bachelor’s Degree 2007 % of Ads Requiring Bachelor’s Degree 2012* % of Ads Requiring Bachelor’s Degree Dental Laboratory Technicians 175% 12% 33% Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders 83% 6% 11% Medical Equipment Preparers 55% 11% 17% Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products 43% 54% 77% Electronics Engineering Technicians 38% 21% 29% Dental Hygienists 38% 40% 55% Architectural Drafters 37% 41% 56% Cargo and Freight Agents 36% 33% 45% Photographers 36% 25% 34% Claims Adjusters, Examiners and Investigators 35% 48% 65%
(I am assuming that the "Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products" would be Cargill marketing reps or similar jobs. Maybe Monsanto field reps?)
If you wander through the comments, you'll notice several possible implications from this report. I agree a tough employment market makes "up-credentialing" an easy way to winnow, but also agree that more jobs simply need better education levels than high school seems to be providing.
With some exceptions, I am not persuaded that college degrees certify the same level of education as they used to. Dumbing down is a crude way of putting it, but it could also be the relative rigor in key academic areas I associate with college degrees from my own era is unnecessary given the compensatory power of computers. Why master any topic when you can google the info you need when you need it?
My Dad used to bemoan the fact I didn't learn the multiplication tables all the way to 25x25 as he did, so I'm guessing my lament is just geezer harrumphing. When skills can become obsolete almost overnight (floor traders), what exactly should colleges teach?
Meanwhile, in our own ranks, the percentage of college graduates seems stagnant.
Of course, this is before the Great Return that started in 2008 as farm incomes suddenly made going back home more attractive to graduates. We'll have slightly less dated info from the 2012 Census of Ag in a couple of years when USDA gets around to it with their usual alacrity.