Shortage of College Graduates? More Evidence Is Needed

By Fechter, Alan | Monthly Labor Review, February 1993 | Go to article overview

Shortage of College Graduates? More Evidence Is Needed


Fechter, Alan, Monthly Labor Review


In "Reconciling conflicting data on jobs for college graduates" (Monthly Labor Review, June 1992), Daniel E. Hecker examined the seemingly conflicting evidence about the supply and demand of college graduates in the work force.[1] On the one hand, an increasing proportion of college graduates is employed in jobs that typically do not require a bachelor's degree. This seems to imply a growing excess supply of college graduates who must settle for jobs with lower skill requirements (and, presumably, lower pay). On the other hand, the earnings of college graduates have increased dramatically relative to those of high school graduates. Such evidence seems to imply an excess demand for college graduates on the part of employers who bid up the wages of college graduates in order to recruit the scarce workers they need.

My argument is that neither piece of evidence justifies the conclusion about excess supply of or excess demand for college graduates. For example, John Bishop and Shani Carter contend that the evidence implying excess supply is questionable. They argue that the process of identifying occupations which require a college degree is inherently arbitrary and idiosyncratic.[2] They maintain that it is difficult to estimate the number of workers in such "college level" occupations because of limitations in the occupational coding system and in the measurement of educational attainment. They believe that such a system would not necessarily result in "yes, this job requires a college graduate" or "no, this job does not require a college graduate." Rather, it would extract an answer that reflects a matter of extent - that is, that a smaller or larger fraction of a particular job requires a college degree. Finally, Bishop and Carter point out that the wide range in the quality of college graduates (that is, their intellectual talents and abilities) further complicates the extraordinary difficult task of identifying college level jobs .

I would argue that the limitations in occupational coding and measurement of educational attainment should not necessarily result in a rising trend in the proportion of college graduates in jobs that do not require college degrees. In part, this rising trend may occur as the result of new technologies that altered job functions such that they now require more skill - such as the skills embodied in college graduates. Similarly, it is possible that, with an increasing fraction of high school graduates continuing on to college, the dispersion in the quality of college graduates may have grown wider, with relatively more graduates in the lower part of the distribution. Here again, this would be reason to expect the proportion of college graduates in jobs that do not require college degrees to increase. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Shortage of College Graduates? More Evidence Is Needed
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.