College is approaching 20 years ago. You would think in 2 decades (5 of which I actually spent working) my skills have improved, my knowledge increased and I would be a better employee today than I was 20 years ago.
That, sadly, cannot be further from the truth.
Have I picked up some things?
Have I developed some skills I didn't have in college?
But I have forgotten most of what I learned in college. I remember I could do efficient frontier analysis on paper before the professor could do it on the calculator. I remembered how to do a very detailed DCF analysis and the CAPM formula by heart. I even remember being able to value options with Black Scholes. But now my skill set is a mere fraction of what it used to be. Additionally, my work ethic, worn down by misleading job after corrupt job after the world's dumbest most incompetent bosses, is nothing compared to what it used to be. Upon graduation I was willing to work 100 hours a week to prove my loyalty and get promoted. Now I just want to make enough to get by, get the hell out the second that clock hits 4PM and not show up a second before 8AM the next day.
My ability (and desire) to do today as a percentage of what I could and was willing to do 18 years ago I would say is about 20%. I've lost, as far as I can in my estimation, about 80% of my worth as an employee. But this has nothing to do with me or my previous hard work ethic. It has to do with progressive credentialism.
Much as I like to point out what I was willing to do and what I was capable of, those points are moot because that's not what the market demanded.
The market demanded a dataentrysman when I was 22. Not their next all-star analyst.
The market demanded a low-level credit analyst when I was 23. Not the next chief risk officer.
The market demanded a swing dance instructor when I was 24. Not a junior executive at a bank.
And the market demanded a security guard when I was 25. Not a top notch mutual fund analyst.
Though I was certainly capable of the latter in the list above, it didn't matter because the real world needed somebody will much lower skills. Additionally the real world was not willing to give a 23 year old kid any kind of responsibility even though he was more than capable of handling it. And so I got to live in reality and not what I was trained to do. Alas this is the Credentialism Gap.
The Credentialism Gap is nothing more than the difference between what a credentialed person is capable of and what he or she inevitably ends up doing. But an additional and REQUIRED part of the Credentialism Gap is that in order for that person to do that job the employer requires them to be unnecessarily credentialed. For example my first post-college job I could have done as a 6th grader (data entry and faxing), but they STILL demanded I had college degree. Most college graduates (bar liberal arts majors who have no real skills) are also in the same boat. I believe the vast majority of graduates end up working a job they were fully capable of doing after they graduated from high school or completed their first year of college, but how much you want to bet they had some HR bureaucrat write up "must have 4 year degree, masters preferred" in the job description?
The Credentialism Gap is, of course, nothing more than a side effect of a market flooded with too many college graduates and not enough economic growth. But much like a...ahem..."lady of the evening" in the Bakken oil fields only needs to clear $100 a night, she has her pick of the litter. She can make outlandish demands and clear well above $100 an evening. And so it is the same in the labor market - employers don't NEED an MBA with 10 years experience, they can easily get by with the ambitious kid with an associates and a 2 week training session. But they CAN get that MBA with 10 years experience.
This gives rise to people looking for jobs, especially you younger folk, to ask a question:
"If the credentials employers are requiring are so far above and beyond the actual required skill level required of the job, why not just fake or fib about your credentials?"
What made me think about this was the recent article of the man who, upon his demise, confessed that instead of having a PhD in engineering, only had 3 years of schooling. Because of a filing snafu on the part of his school, he was awarded a PhD. What gets me is NOT that the school screwed up, but that he made an entire life career in a technical field on false credentials. And not just that, but that the actual required skill set for jobs that required a "PhD" could be done by somebody with not even a bachelors. This piqued my interest (and I presume others) about the feasibility of doing the same - lying about your credentials for jobs you're certainly qualified for in terms of skills, but require some outlandish certification.
Regardless, this divergence from "demanded credentials" to "skills required" only adds more proof as to how an education is becoming less and less worthwhile and how employers are becoming more and more arrogant in their assumptions of what kind of employees they can recruit. Yes, I know people are desperate for employment. Yes, I know you want qualified individuals. But why pay the premium for somebody with a masters when you only need somebody with an associates? Why force somebody to go through and pay for extra schooling, when you should just say, "we need an associates, nothing more?" And with companies being special and unique as they are, why not re-institute training programs and spare them the pain of going to college anyway.
ie-What is compelling employers to contribute to progressive credentialism aside (from as far as I can tell) laziness, arrogance, stupidity and a power trip?
I frankly stopped caring a long time ago. When I see "MBA preferred" or "CFA preferred" or "FMG preferred" or "SIGMA Six" or any other certification acronym that some faux educational/certification/professional association came up with just to milk more money out of its member workers, I don't bother applying. The reason why is not only am I unlikely to get the job, but when does it stop? When does the blasted and worthless CPE or "continuing education" end? When do I get to work and excel and push the boundaries of my field and my job? When does the bleeping training end and the production finally start?
Presumably never on account credentials are obviously more important actual skills.
Enjoy the decline!