REALITY: Employers Think Only 1/4 College Grads Are Worth a Crap at Work

Published on August 27, 2013

Question: Is it really worth spending thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of dollars earning a post-secondary degree? Well, according to a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, only about a fourth of employers are satisfied with the rigors of the nation’s higher education system. So maybe not:

Only one in four employers think that two- and four-year colleges are doing a good job preparing students for the global economy, according to a 2010 survey conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Meanwhile, GPAs have been on the rise. A 2012 study looking at the grades of 1.5 million students from 200 four-year U.S. colleges and universities found that the percentage of A’s given by teachers nearly tripled between 1940 and 2008. A college diploma is now more a mark “of social class than an indicator of academic accomplishment,” said Stuart Rojstaczer, a former Duke University geophysics professor and co-author of the study.

Employers such as General Mills Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. long have used their own job-applicant assessments. At some companies such as Google Inc., GPAs carry less weight than they once did because they have been shown to have little correlation with job success, said a Google spokeswoman.

Our higher education system’s growing reputation for mediocrity is causing many schools to reconsider how they market their students before they graduate.

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