When recent college students were asked what “professional opportunities were available for them after graduation”, 84% believed their chances were “very good or better”. However, as many of these students will soon discover, the reality of reaching their employment goal is “grim at best”.
How white-collar employment ended up in this situation is no mystery. American employment, years ago, was booming. “Made in the USA” and fair wages were a commonplace. Unfortunately, the American consumer wanted (and continues to want) the best of everything. They not only enjoyed the fair wages, but they also loved heading to the nearest Wal-mart for the hottest new deals.
Simply put, American consumers took their paychecks and gave a large chunk of it to foreign competition. The primary reason why places such as Wal-Mart can offer such great prices is because the products come from overseas.
As a result, the need for American-made products went down severely … as did American jobs. But why cut the white-collar jobs? The reason is obvious; with less manufacturing there is less to manage. It has thrown the job market in a competitive, cut-throat race for employment.
Is it getting better? Not at all, in fact much worse. Social security will likely be bankrupt by the baby-boomers, more jobs will be lost as we continue to lose technological dominance, and our cost of living (and healthcare) will continue to increase.
What can be done? Realistically… nothing. It is impossible to hinder the advance of the rest of the world. However, those facing unemployment should sharpen their skills to remain competitive. Various types of professional certification and training can be obtained quickly online. Those in search of higher job security should consider careers in service-based industries. For instance, your plumber’s wages will not likely feel the impact of competition in China. However, he has to worry about illegal immigrants offering low wage competition (but that is a topic for another article).