A survey of small businesses shows an overwhelming number of companies are dissatisfied with graduates of four-year degree programs.
The poll, conducted by employment company Red Balloon and marketer PublicSquare, found the “free market lacks confidence in a higher education system that has shifted its focus from academics to woke subjects like DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion],” said Red Balloon CEO Andrew Crapuchettes.
When asked if four-year colleges and universities were supplying companies with the types of graduates needed for the workforce, a startling 67% of companies replied “strongly no.”
Moreover, 83% of companies said they are either less likely to hire those with four-year degrees from major colleges or universities, or they just don’t see any qualitative difference between them and other job-seekers.
Only 10% of companies expressed a preference for graduates with four-year college degrees.
The survey sampled a universe of over 70,000 small businesses from Oct. 25-30, with 905 respondents and a 3% margin of error and 95% confidence level.
“The reality is that employers are not just neutral on the issue. They actually would like to avoid hiring [four-year grads], particularly out of some of these large ‘woke’ universities,” Crapuchettes told The Lion.
He said it was a particular concern for businesses of under 50 employees, where each worker has an outsized effect on the culture of the business.
“And if you hire someone who has been trained to be a Marxist and an anarchist for the last four years, do you think they’re going to do good things for your culture or bad things for culture?” asked Crapuchettes rhetorically, before reminding The Lion that it wasn’t a trick question.
The warning to the higher education system is that it’s working its way out of a job, the CEO said in a statement released with the survey.
“By losing focus on the mission of preparing their students for their career, they’ve become a non-factor, or even a negative factor, in helping job seekers find a job,” he said.
Some verbatim responses from the survey include:
- “The talent shortage will just get worse because high schools and colleges produce no talent.”
- “We would hire someone with hands-on experience over someone that read about it in a book.”
- “I only care about skills. If you ain’t got the skills, you ain’t got a job.”
- “Experience cannot be replaced with education alone.”
The survey comes at an especially dire moment for higher education. Colleges and universities are faced not just with growing dissatisfaction over poorly trained graduates, but with students who are angry over the high cost of an education.
Last month, those two points of frustration came to a head as the conflict in Israel and Gaza provoked cries of antisemitism on major colleges and university campuses.
Frederick M. Hess, Senior Fellow and Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, argued in a Nov. 8 editorial that Ivy league universities such as Harvard were simply bad for America because their values were out of touch with America.
Such clubby universities, Hess argued, have a disproportionate effect on the cultural values of America, and those values are clearly not aligned with the best interest of our country our economy.
Those comments were more-or-less validated by the results of the Red Balloon and Public Square survey.
“Harvard is bad for America. It’s producing people who don’t know how to vote clearly because they’ve never dealt with the ramifications of these policy decisions. We have a generation that’s never gone hungry. They’re a generation that’s not had to actually deal with taxes and regulation and feeding their family,” Crapuchettes told The Lion.
The Red Balloon CEO said part of the solution is to have fewer colleges and universities, with fewer students in majors that are economic losers. He adds that industries increasingly are looking at types of on-the-job training to fill the gap left by college degrees that don’t teach the skills employers need.
It “will actually be good for the economy [to have fewer schools] because if a student spends four years drinking their life away at a university to get their gender studies bachelor’s degree, they are a deadweight loss on the economy. They are not more productive at the end of that. But imagine if those four years were spent productively producing output for a business in the economy,” Crapuchettes told The Lion.