Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 24, 1975 · Page 16
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 16

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 24, 1975
Page 16
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Page 16 article text (OCR)

4B August 24,1975 C»irJ*sfce, VICTIMS Job Dissatisfaction, jVot Unemployment, May Haunt College Graduates of 1980-85 By G.G. LaBelle The /iMooialed Preu Jim Stephens wouldn't like being thought of as a sign of the future. For Stephens, a cab driver despite his college education, being a sign of the limes is bad enough. But Stephens and thousands like him also seem to be advance soldiers for the army of projections that sociologists and statisticians have compiled about the job market in the 1980s. Chief among the projections is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate that there will be 140.000 surplus college graduates each year between 1980 and 1985. A surplus graduate, the bureau says, is one who won't get the kind of job traditionally given college graduates. · Technology will upgrade the jobs that some of these surplus graduates will get. Others will simply take jobs that high ·;ch"ool graduates would have gotten in the 1960s. ' The high school graduates will then have 10 look one rung lower on the employment ladder, and those without high school diplomas will have to grab hold of still a lower rung. * * · FROM HIS RUNG on the ladder. Stephens has a brief description of cab driving as a way to earn a living: "It's horrible." Not that many college graduates are becoming cab drivers, of course. But there are thousands of other 1975 college graduates who. like Stephens, are not using the skills acquired in long years of study. The College Placement Council estimated in May that private and public employers would be hiring 18 per cent fewer college graduates this year than last. The highly respected End'icott Survey judged that the nation's businesses would hire a third fewer persons with bachelors degrees and 18 per cent fewer with masters degrees. On an individual basis, college placement directors tell about architecture graduates working as construction assistants, people with education degrees employed in factories, others who have degrees in English with jobs as clerks, even Ph.Ds who are tending bar. "'··, Most of these people are victims of the recession. They got out of college at a time when the labor market was contracting, and they could not find jobs in their fields. . But the labor statistics bureau does not base its projections on a recessionary economy. It judges the economy will be growing in the 1980-85 period, but not fast enough to accommodate the 1.7 million persons who will finish college each year with bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees. .Unemployment statistics show that this trend is not entirely new. In 1969, the unemployment rate was less than 1 per cent for all college graduates and only 2.4 per cent for graduates 20 to 24 years old. By 1972. unemployment was 2.5 per cent for college graduates and 6 per cent for 20- to 24-year-old graduates. * * + WHAT THESE RATES don't measure, of course, are people like Stephens who have jobs, though not the ones they had wanted. These people are not unemployed but what sociologists call "underemployed." That is, they have education or skills beyond what their jobs require. This can be a source of job dissatisfaction for college graduates, who traditionally have gotten more satisfying jobs than persons with less education. For the 1980-85 surplus graduates, says BLS economist Jon Sargent, the problems "are likely to center on underemployment and job dissatisfaction rather than unemployment," That is why Jim Stephens may be an omen of the future. WHERE TO// The Ultimate Cliche: Graduate Driving a Cab The Plight of This Man Could Be a Sign of the Future year later, 31 per cent of the men and 35 renewed because he would have had to be per cent of the women were actually work- given tenure under the faculty contract, ing full time in their field. Another 2 per After West left, the publishing firm fired cent of the men and 4 per cent of the worn- many of his coworkers in a cutback. West en were employed part lime in their car- was only saved from layoff at the New eer field. A fourth of the graduates had held at least two full-time jobs in the year since college. The most frequent reason given for quitting was that the job didn't require the graduate's skills. Sixty-eight per cent of those who quit jobs gave that reason. Another study of job dissatisfaction, among the general population, was done in 1972 under Dr. Robert Quinn of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. In that study, 27 per cent said they had more education than their jobs required and 24 per cent said their work didn't make use of their skills. Stephens--it's not his real name since he is afraid of jeopardizing any future opportunities--is 20 and has a bachelor's degree in biology. He suffered his biggest disappointment when he was turned down for medical school. He still wants to be a doctor--"It's something I want to do so strongly that I am applying again''--but meanwhile he has been looking for a job as a lab technician and continuing to drive a cab to earn his living. "It's a cliche." he said. "I find myself in the cliche of a college graduate driving a cab. . .It's a dog-eat-dog rat race. You're always looking for a fare. I don't see how these guys can do it for 20 years and feed a family. After a while you become neurotic. "This is only a stopgap." he added. "The fact remains that I've been looking for a lab technician's job. So what do I have? I have a bachelor's degree. I've gone to a number of hospitals -- sure they are looking for science majors, but there are so many better people floating around that would jump at the job I should have. "It's not that great a job. a lab technician. The position is not one where a masters degree is required. It's a test tube cleaning job." Stephens seems worse off than most college graduates, but there are many unhappy to be working outside their chosen fields. There are no studies of the 1975 college class, but those done before the recession give some hint of the current situation. Dr. David Gottlieb of the University of Houston headed two studies of 1972 graduates of five state colleges in Pennsylvania. One dealt with expectations shortly before graduation and the other with the situations a year later. Many of the students expected tc go to gradua'le school and did so. though graduate school admission is now tighter. Others were not so successful in meeting their goals. Before graduation. 37 per cent of the men aKJ 59 per cent of the women expected to * working in their chosen fielfA THE RESEARCHERS who have done these studies are cautious about projecting 1972 statistics into today's situation. Asked whether dissatisfaction had increased in the current job market, most would only say it was likely. "It would be a very plausible guess," was the way Quinn put it. Several factors could lead to more job dissatisfaction. There is a historical trend for employers to hire college graduates for any job they can. In the present and expected job market, some employers may hire graduates for jobs that simply don't require college skills. Employers are also eliminating the training programs that gave new graduates a chance to try several jobs in a company before employer and employe chose where the employe would light. And employers no longer feel compelled to find a spot for a bright liberal arts graduate. It's too expensive to train him when a more easily trained business graduate can be hired instead. Several college placement officials said college graduates are now taking clerical and sales jobs that their 1960s counterparts would not have considered. They said, too. that some liberal arts graduates are taking blue collar jobs. Gottlieb's study also showed those with nontechnical majors having more trouble. Of men, 79 per cent of engineers but only 42 per cent of humanities graduates found work in their fields. With schools facing lower enrollments, education majors have been hard hit, too. Although more than two-thirds found jobs as teachers, many of the surplus entered college with the expectation that a teaching job would be a certainty. York City Planning Commission, where he now works, by an infusion of federal money. And there are many other refugees from the academic life. One such is John Treon. He had taught for six years at St. Olaf's College in Northfield, Minn., when last year, at age 35, with a family, he found himself with no job. Treon said that for his contract to be renewed he would have to have been given tenure -- virtually a lifetime job guarantee -- at a time when St. Olaf's and other schools were forced to cut down on faculty. "I stayed drunk for about three dajs." Treon said, candidly recalling his .first reaction to realizing his PhD in American history was suddenly useless. He could have looked for another college job -- if he could have gotten one -- but he might have wound up in the same situation a few years later. He didn't know what to do. What he did was go into nearby Minneapolis, look.for a job in business and take one with Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner Smith. He reasoned this way: "I loved teaching. In teaching there are a number of sacrifices one makes, principally money. I assumed I would not be happy doing anything but teaching. I wanted to make some bread." Now Treon finds -- much to his surprise -- that he is happy as a stockbroker. "What I'm doing now is essentially teaching," he said. "Teaching is nothing but selling ideas to those who are essentially skeptical. What was I doing in the classroom but selling ideas?" But Treon also said he is not entirely satisfied with his life. He would rather be back teaching; he is nervous when he meets students he had back in 1968 who ask^im what he is doing now. And does he use any of his knowledge of history on the job? "Absolutely none," he replied. "At nights sometimes," he said, "I lament, sure, that I'm not back in the classroom giving kids a good lecture." Treon's situation, and that of Stephens and Mrs. Pienciak, cannot be seen as exact models for the future, but there is concern about how similar will be the experiences of future college graduates. And Dr. Harold Wool of the National Planning Association points out that underemployment is not a problem for just the college educated. Wool noted that the college graduate who takes a clerical or sales job displaces a high school graduate, who then displaces someone else in a factory job. He feels the displacement will extend down until it reaches the jobs that pay little.more than welfare benefits. No one will take these, he said, noting . that in the 1960s few young black women took the domestic jobs blacks had traditionally done because their educations were better and ibere was weare. "They took better jobs or ao jobs," be said. Concern over job saiisfaeuofl is not aimed at the happiness of the individual worker alone. Many jobs, even menial ones, have to be done and done well to keep society functioning. And the unhappy worker doesn't do his job as well. He may drink or take drugs and endanger himself and others. He may actually sabotage work, as did some frustrated auto assembly line workers in the booming 1960s. Expectations were high during the '60s, when it seemed there would always be enough work for everyone. With the recession now and a tighter job market in years ahead, those entering the job market may not expect as much and be more easily satisfied. Exactly how much expectations change remains to be seen. College'placement officials say graduates are already adjusting to economic realities. The students are more worried about getting jobs, they come in for advice during their sophomore year instead of a month before graduation, they are willing to take jobs that wouldn't have been cosi- dered by their counterparts in the '60s. "They're much more willing to take the job that's available and make the best of it." said Kathryn MacClelland, a placement adviser at the University of California at Befkeley. Ms. MacClelland, the title she prefers, said students were happy to gel a job that was in any way related'to their career goals in hopes that it would start them toward those goals. College placement officials say, too. that they are now urging students to take summer work, even on a voluntary basis, to learn something of the world of work. They are more often steering students to majors that lead to jobs, too, and urging those who want to major in the liberal arts to take a minor in a more technical area. The economy also may be somewhat self-correcting in reducing the surplus of graduates, with fewer people seeking higher education as they realize a degree does not automatically lead to a job. There will also be self-correction after 1985, when the lower birth rate will begin the surplus of graduates. · · * FOR THOSE ENTERING UK labor market between now and 1985. fcwever. "uadefenjploymeot" may be a problem And the planning association's Wool sees changes needed in jobs themselves to solve the problem. He said some jobs should be upgraded in skills, others should be improved in wages and benefits and the most menial jobs that cannot be eliminated by technology should be thought of not as full-time careers but as temporary or part-time work for youths or the retired. Wool noted, too, that changes in jobs and wages may in turn alter the status of some jobs. And Jean Moe, assistant placement director at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the college graduate who finds he can make more as aTeamster than as a teacher may choose truck over classroom. Formerly VANGIE'S DRESS SHOP OUIKW PAITY SUPPLIES STOW May w* ttofk you (or renting Party Supphi from ui in rht post, ond oturt you thai our wnrict in tht future, (ram our n*v location, wZI tw more rapid ond ·fftitnt. Vtiit our gorgcouf new Party $uppJm Store 01 ihown abott. THYLM RENTAL HtfTY GOODS 731CIN1MLAVINUI M4-flll nuts Totur. TABLES CHAIRS TABLE SKIRTS LINEN TAiLE CLOTHS SILVER SERVICE CHINA WARDROBE CAB. PUNCH BOWLS FLATWARE FOUNTAINS FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS BUDGET STORE Lee Dickinson Streets Phone 342-7134 L[[ DICKINSON Eliminate mold, mildew, and odors with Repeat of a Sellout! MATCHING BEDSPREAD AND DRAPERY ENSEMBLE Good looking bedspreads and -draperies at a budget price that mokes shopping a pleasure. Grand selection of quilted-to-the-floor bedspreads and matching drapes. A lovely assortment of prints and solids awaits your selection. Polyester fiber-filled spreads are fully machine washable, twin and full sizes. Redecorate now for fall, while you save! Cheryl Pienciak had such expectations. "When I went in as a freshman there was a shortage of teachers," she recalled. "Four years later there was nothing." Mrs. Pienciak is 24 and got her bachelors degree in elementary education from Rider College in New Jersey two years ago. She said that she first heard about the oversupply of teachers during her junior year and some of her friends dropped out of education then. "But," she said : "it was what I wanted to do so I stuck with it." When she couldn't find a teaching job after college she went to work for a family friend's book bindery because he would allow her to take time off to look for a teaching job and to substitute teach. She had some substitute work but was offered nothing permanent. Two years later the economy caught up with her again: the family friend fired her at the bindery because his business was dwindling. She said she did general office work at the bindery -- billing and secretarial work. She didn't like it. "I was bored -- very, very bored," she said. "I dreaded going in every day." Shewants another job but is discouraged because she sees nothing open but secretarial work. "I'd like to do something with kids even if it's not as a teacher." she said. "I want to use my mind. I don't want to sit there and type." For Clothes Closets For Storage Rooms Sun-Ray Dehumidifier TWIN FULL DRAPES 10.99 12.99 7.99 For Basements EE7 15 oz. can Sun-Ray's principle of controlling humidity is valuable protection against clothes damage from mold, mildew, and excessive moisture. Keeps closets dry; .no more mold odors. Sun- Ray Dehumidifier is easy to use. Just remove the cap and place on floor or shelf--or wherever you want immediate, effective humidity control. Sun-Ray granules will control humidity without fumes, odors, poisons, and it's harmless to children. It's effective until it dissolves. Avoid expensive damage to your valuables. Give your closets, hampers, lockers, storage rooms and basement the thorough Sun-Ray Dehumidifier protection, / v t-- -**-. · The cutback in education, which reflects the lower birth rate and tighter budgets for schools and colleges, did not only affect those with bachelor's degrees in elementary education. William K. West, who quit graduate school just short of a Ph.D. in medieval history when he saw the job market, recalled a publishing company where he worked briefly as littered with ex-academic types. There was a Russian scholar, a Chinese scholar, a former University of Chicago faculty member whose contract was'not For Bathrooms SUN-RAY onmina NETWT. HOUSEWARES, Third floor SHEET SPECTACULAR! A spectacular array of sheets in flat and fitted styles at economy prices! Discontinued patterns from a famous maker, percale or muslin to choose from, some in matching ensembles, or mix them up for an individualized look. Solids and fancy patterns in a terrific color assortment. Stock up your linen closet now! FULL QUEEN Reg. 4.99 Reg. 5.99 i49 Q49 A49 TWIN Reg. 3.99

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