“The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job,” reports the New York Times.
At an Atlanta law firm, all the support staff are four-year graduates from paralegals, admins and file clerks to the $10-an-hour courier.
“College graduates are just more career-oriented,” said Adam Slipakoff, the firm’s managing partner. “Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck.”
Maybe they’re looking for a miracle. The law firm’s receptionist, who earns $37,000 a year, graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2011 with a degree in fashion and retail management. “I am over $100,000 in student loan debt right now,” said Megan Parker.
“Degree inflation” is increasing, reports the Times. Many “jobs that didn’t used to require a diploma — positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters — are increasingly requiring one,” according to Burning Glass, a company that analyzes job ads.
Requiring a bachelor’s degree is a handy way to cut down on the huge pile of applications for every job, a recruiter tells the Times.