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Ear to the Ground

No B.A.? No Job as a Filing Clerk

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Posted on Feb 20, 2013
brad montgomery (CC BY 2.0)

The abundance of unemployed college graduates in the United States is making it easier for employers to exclude less-educated people from jobs that previously required no special training.

Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh is a 45-person Atlanta law firm that is among a number of employers across the country that hires only people with at least a bachelor’s degree. The prerequisite applies to all positions, including couriers, file clerks, receptionists, administrative assistants and paralegals.

“College graduates are just more career-oriented,” said Adam Slipakoff, the firm’s managing partner, in an ambiguous statement that leaves the reader wondering whether he’s justifying the exclusive hiring of degreed applicants or commenting on the hard luck of recent graduates. “Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Catherine Rampell at The New York Times:

Economists have referred to this phenomenon as “degree inflation,” and it has been steadily infiltrating America’s job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other 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 from more than 20,000 online sources, including major job boards and small- to midsize-employer sites.

This up-credentialing is pushing the less educated even further down the food chain, and it helps explain why the unemployment rate for workers with no more than a high school diploma is more than twice that for workers with a bachelor’s degree: 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent.

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