National Review Online has unearthed a warning that famed management consultant Peter Drucker issued in 1950. That’s right, 63 years ago. (Via Maggie’s Farm)
At that time, Drucker outlined, with exemplary clarity, the problems that would arise when we decide to give everyone a college education, that is when we let "the schoolmaster" to choose who is qualified for management:
The popular substitute for advancement from the ranks – a college education for all able young people – is not really acceptable. The abilities which make for scholastic success are not the abilities the enterprise needs. By asking the schoolmaster to pick management, the enterprise will deny itself the very men it needs most: the entrepreneur, the innovator, the risk-taker. The process is also self-defeating. All but the very poorest will go to college and will then expect a managerial position as of right, being too proud for subordinate jobs but unable to find any other. To make the degree the passport to promotion is certain to debauch education; it will become “quickie” training in the latest fad and in readily salable skills. But a free society requires an educational system dedicated to training of character and to the education of leaders.
Drucker’s points are especially salient in the light of this report from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Employers value a four-year college degree, many of them more than ever.
Yet half of those surveyed recently by The Chronicle and American Public Media's Marketplace said they had trouble finding recent graduates qualified to fill positions at their company or organization. Nearly a third gave colleges just fair to poor marks for producing successful employees. And they dinged bachelor's-degree holders for lacking basic workplace proficiencies, like adaptability, communication skills, and the ability to solve complex problems.
"Woefully unprepared" is how David E. Boyes characterized the newly minted B.A.'s who apply to his Northern Virginia technology consulting company.
What gives? These days a bachelor's degree is practically a prerequisite for getting your résumé read—two-thirds of employers said they never waive degree requirements, or do so only for particularly outstanding candidates. But clearly the credential leaves employers wanting. While they use college as a sorting mechanism, to signal job candidates' discipline and drive, they think it is falling short in adequately preparing new hires.
It means that Peter Drucker was a prophet before his time and that no one heard what he was saying.