And why your college student needs a new plan
Ric Edelman: It's Wednesday, May 24th. What is your kids studying in college? More to the point, what are they going to do with their degree when they graduate? Too many students have unrealistic expectations, unrealistic that they're going to get a job or that they're going to like the job that they get or what that job is going to pay.
So that's the troika, isn't it? Get a job, like the job and like what it's going to pay. But it's even worse than that. It's not merely that so many college students are unrealistic about the likelihood they'll get a job. I mean, let's think about it. How often do you come upon somebody who has a degree in philosophy or are they going to get a job with a philosophy company? Or the not uncommon occurrence where people get a degree in a field that they thoroughly enjoyed studying only to discover they hate actually doing it as an occupation.
I remember one client of mine who loved studying to become a pharmacist, learning about pharmacological interactions in the body and chemistry and oh, just the scientific and intellectual exploration. Fascinating. But then when she became a pharmacist, she quickly became very disillusioned because she was simply counting pills out of a bottle to put them into another bottle to give to somebody who then complained about their insurance. She loved studying pharmacy, just didn't like being a pharmacist.
And then finally, how many college students are capable of expressing how much money they'll earn by being in the career that they are studying to enter? We need to make sure that our college kids recognize the economic reality of getting the degree. How much will it pay and what kind of a lifestyle will that provide? Get a job. Like a job. Like what the job will pay. That's the troika.
But the whole situation is now even getting worse, as demonstrated by a new poll of Gen Z, Generation Z. These are the people in their teens and of college age. These are the folks who are in college now or getting ready to go to college. 16% of the Generation Z people who were surveyed said that when they graduate, they want to go work for Google.
Google is the most attractive employer, according to this poll. And this was true for both men and women who were surveyed. For students who are white, black, Asian and Hispanic. For students who are Republican and Democrat. In other words, it didn't matter who these people were, they all said the same thing. 16% of men, 16% of women, 16% of whites, 16% of blacks, of Asians of Hispanics, 16% of Republicans and of Democrats all said the same thing: I want to go work for Google.
Now, let's just think about this for a second. Alphabet, which is the parent of Google, has 135,000 employees. It's a big employer, but that's out of 132 million American workers. In other words, Google employs one tenth of 1% of the US workforce. But 16% say they want to work there.
Do you really think that it's realistic? You're going to go get a job at Google when you graduate? Do you really think it's realistic for your children and your grandchildren who have that as their career goal? And if they aren't able to get a job at Google? Might that alter their interest in the degree that they're currently pursuing?
We need to make sure that today's college kids are realistic about their job prospects. Talk to your students. What are they planning to do when they graduate? Where are they planning to work for? What employer do they want to go work for? If they're telling you that they want to go work for Google, you should ask them a simple question: What is your plan B?