Georgetown: Demand will outstrip supply of college graduates. Your kids will move out the basement

I thought we could all use some good news about the prospects for college graduates.

A Georgetown center predicts a rebound in the job market for college grads

A Georgetown center predicts a rebound in the job market for college grads

Here are some early projections from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The findings represent good news for the economy and bolster the White House vow to increase the number of postsecondary degrees awarded by 2020.

Employment growth is set to resume in 2011

  • By 2018, 30 million new and replacement jobs will require some college or above.

  • The demand for an increasingly skilled and educated workforce is growing steadily; unless we increase output from postsecondary institutions, the demand for college talent will exceed its supply.

  • In this recession, as in past recessions, those without college bear the brunt of unemployment.

According to a release from the Georgetown  center:

We examined educational requirements for projected job growth and the findings are staggering: The percentage of the workforce requiring some college or above grew from 28% in 1973 to 59% in 2007 and is expected to increase to 62% by 2018. The demand for an increasingly skilled and educated workforce is growing steadily; unless we increase output from postsecondary institutions, the demand for college talent will exceed its supply.

In 1970, high school dropouts were three times as likely to be unemployed as degreed workers; today, high school dropouts are five times as likely to be unemployed as degreed workers. When the recession is over, most of the non-college jobs lost will not be coming back, and a growing share of new job openings will require some college.

The difference in unemployment rates between high school dropouts and those with a bachelor’s degree or above has increased from 7 percentage points to 11 percentage points in the last 12 months.

The Obama Administration is correct to invest now in increasing postsecondary education degrees. The recovery is coming and by our projections, the supply of college-educated workers will not meet the labor demand. This is not the time to disinvest in higher education.

9 comments Add your comment

Patrick Ouzts

December 15th, 2009
12:08 pm

Though the college degree might qualify someone for a job, it was what he does in school that really matters. College students need to take the time to learn to set a schedule, use a calendar, keep up with societal issues, prove success in class. Beer pong and frat parties won’t land those opening jobs. Use college as a time to mature.


December 15th, 2009
12:50 pm

Will require college? What can I not get off the internet that is taught in college. Only college grads want college grads and not performance. Hey, I think they should all be Harvard grads. They can run down a business just as easily as a bank or the country. Soon with the HOPE and PELL, you will have to have a college degree to become a cashier. How many graduates work their discipline? So take an easy discipline in basket weaving and get a great job. Right? Anything after two years there is no bang for the buck by most graduates. They perform like high school graduates with 2yrs experience

If education is the key as this article reflects, then why is it not the Japaneese who controls the world.


December 15th, 2009
1:52 pm

I know that having a college degree can help you get a job, even if it’s not in your field of study, because it worked for me. The first school I worked at changed from a traditional type of high school to a comprehensive high school, and jobs in my department were cut. I found a job in an entirely different field after my first, and only, interview, and I think it was due to the courses I took in college that provided me with a well-rounded educational experience.

Ali Hangan

December 15th, 2009
3:27 pm

Interesting comment on Japan. They are solving their workforce shortage with robots and automation. This maybe the way we are going in the U.S.

Intown Lib

December 15th, 2009
4:02 pm

Looks like we’ll need more welcoming immigration policies for foreign students to fill the gap unless, Georgia’s schools can get their act together.

Georgia Teacher

December 15th, 2009
4:38 pm

I have been preaching this for a long time, but please note the study said postsecondary education. That also includes technical education. In the mean time, college graduates are flooding the Atlanta job market. Atlanta, as a whole, produces more than 100,000 college graduates a year (last I checked). Add in a lot of other large universities within an eight hour drive and we are bursting at the seams with grads coming here looking for jobs.

@ William: In terms of why an employer would hire a college graduate over someone with no postsecondary education is simple: investment. Going to college requires that you have the discipline to invest in yourself. If you are not willing to invest in yourself, why should any employer hire you to further his/her goals?

Ole Guy

December 15th, 2009
9:21 pm

I take issue with Pat’s reflection on the value (or UNvalue) of frat affiliation in securing a job. Admittedly, the 70s movie Animal House paints a somewhat bawdy, and accurate picture of frat life. However, many frats, while maintaining reputations as “party frats”, also serve admirably in civic roles. As former frat brothers age, and mature into the “real world”, the elements of immature frat life often “morph” into the so-called “social graces” of that world. Will frat affiliation on the resume of a recent college grad hurt chances of getting on a payroll? All things being equal, I doubt it.

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
11:28 pm

GA Teacher–
I’m so glad you mentioned that the study is about “postsecondary education” and “some college.”

This is why I think we need a better, solid network of post-secondary technical, trade schools.

Ole Guy

December 18th, 2009
11:38 pm

Ga Teach, ya got a good point their, however, it is steeped in the world of idealism vs practicality:

1) While some jobs present the opportunity(s) for advancement, both in terms of job responsibility and salary/wage increases, others, while not necessarily what one might label “dead end”, require limited employee effort. This certainly would not imply anything short of the “8-hours-pay-for-8-hours-work” concept, but rather the degree to which the employee would be expected, over time, to develop the creative adaptibility which leads to “job ownership” and on-the-job autonomy.

2) You are absolutely correct in that the job candidate with degreed credentials would generally indicate one who possesses the self discipline and tenacity to strive toward goal achievement…a quality which any-and-all employers would place high on their wish list of the “ideal employee”. Keep in mind, however, that OJT (On The Job Training) is generally the major, if not sole, yardstick against which job performance would be evaluated. For good or for not-so-good, many employees thrive in work environments which require little in the way of mental flexibility, and in fact, prefer “functional routine”.

3) Expectations, both those of employer and employee, often sit at completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Sometimes, there may be unreasonable salary/wage expectations, on either side of that spectrum. In terms of perceived expectations, the prospective employer might reject the degreed candidate in favor of the non-degreed job seeker for the simple reason(s) that a) the candidate may, in the future, demand unreasonable compensation, and/or b) following a period of costly training, the degreed employee might leave the employ for “greener pastures”.

Has anyone, particularly in the current job-seeking environment, ever considered omiting/downplaying one’s college background in order to avoid the perception of being overqualified?