Yesterday’s Guardian newspaper reports a 44% increase in graduate unemployment during the past 12 months. This is, perhaps, to be expected in an economic downturn, but it’s nevertheless worrying, especially for those students who have applied, in record numbers, to go to university this year.
Why would more young people opt for a course of action which seems to be increasingly likely to result in disappointment? My own guess is that, at a time of great uncertainty, they simply don’t know what else to do – and that’s never a good reason to choose a course of study.As I’ve said in an earlier post, with the exponential growth in Knowledge Process Outsourcing, we’re likely to see a fall in demand for highly skilled ‘knowledge workers’, since it’s now cheaper and easier to outsource the kinds of tasks graduates used to do, to doctorates in India, Brazil or China. So, the position is likely to get more gloomy. Some of the biggest falls are in the hitherto ‘safe’ financial and business sectors. We still delude ourselves into thinking that expanding the number of university graduates is the only way to make us competitive in the global ‘knowledge economy’. Wouldn’t it be better to equally value alternatives to higher education, which might foster the kinds of skills and creative talent which the rest of the world continues to envy?