Want an entry-level job? You may need a college degree to qualify – even if the job doesn’t require college-level skills. According to the experts, a lot of positions now require college degrees that never did before. And it’s partly because more college grads are taking lower-level jobs. For example, about 15 percent of taxi drivers, or more than 1-in-7, have at least a bachelor's degree. So do 1-in-6 bartenders, and 1-in-4 workers in retail stores and amusement parks. Economists call this “degree inflation,” which means there are more people with college degrees than there are jobs available for them. It also helps explain why the unemployment rate for workers with just a high school diploma is more than twice that for workers with a bachelor’s degree.
And since there’s an increasingly large pool of college grads to choose from, more companies are requiring degrees. For example, in Atlanta, 39 percent of job postings for secretaries and administrative assistants require a B.A. In fact, one law firm we read about requires every applicant to have one, even receptionists, file clerks and office runners who get $10 an hour to ferry documents to the courthouse and back.
Company executives say they feel college grads are more stable because they’ve already made a real investment in their future. While those who skipped college are thought to just be looking for a paycheck. The good news is, the companies that hire only college grads expect every employee to grow, and to try to climb the corporate ladder. After all, since nobody has to go back to college to qualify for a promotion, there’s nothing holding them back.