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Unemployed Chinese Graduates Say No Thanks To Factory Jobs

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the got-anything-in-suit? dept.

China 366

hackingbear writes "While people and politicians are pitching for more education and reviving manufacturing in this country, jobs go begging in factories while many college educated young workers, which now number 11 times more than in 1989, are unemployed or underemployed in China. A national survey of urban residents, released this winter by a Chinese university, showed that among people in their early 20s, those with a college degree were four times as likely to be unemployed as those with only an elementary school education. Yet, it is not about the pay. Many factories are desperate for workers, despite offering double-digit annual pay increases and improved benefits, while an office job would initially pay as little as a third of factory wages. The glut of college graduates is eroding wages even for those with more marketable majors, like computer science. Vocational schools and training programs are unpopular because they suffer from a low status [or are seen as] for people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds. 'The more educated people are, the less they want to work in a factory,' said an unemployed graduate. If we do succeed bringing back factory jobs, are there enough people who want them?"

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YOU TAKE WHAT THE REST OF THE WORLD WON'T !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701583)

You now may sow what you have REAPT !!

It's the stigma (5, Insightful)

Ltap (1572175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701603)

People still see factory jobs as being for "stupid" people and they are generally looked down on, while even terrible office work is considered acceptable. This shouldn't be.

Re:It's the stigma (5, Insightful)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701689)

True, but you also dont spend years educating yourself in order to work on a factory line. Even bad office work is a start to an employment history and could lead to better opportunities down the road. Factory jobs just lead to more of the same.*

*That said I can't even pretend I have any full grasp of how employment works in China.

Re:It's the stigma (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701785)

There is absolutely no office or executive position my uneducated self could not preform 120% better then most self entitled pushover bitches. Because I'm a problem solver. I can adapt and improvise and use tools creatively in ways most concrete losers will never experience in their lives.

I would be better then Ballmer for sure. I was better then all my managers and bosses. I never rubbed it in their faces but they knew it and I knew it, they came to me to fix their problems. I could run an entire call center while half asleep and drunk.

I just don't want to.

I think it boils down to psychology. The people being ground out of higher education and sold some bit of lie that they are special and better then those that didn't and need positions of power and control. For concrete thinkers wrote memorized knowledge gives them a leg up. For abstract thinkers we can invent knowledge out of thin air on the fly.

I make this point... if you are so goddamn special with your 10 year degree, come on down and prove it face to face in the jungle, I have already proven it in your steel and concrete world. I guarantee I would win this contest.

Re:It's the stigma (0)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701957)

Wow... AC is such a BAMF that they can't even take responsibility for their own post. Your vaguely intimidating 'prove it' challenge falls flat when the goal is not survival, but managing growth in a stagnant economy in largely established markets with increasingly limited margins, less available credit, increasing logistical challenges and regulatory overhead. I expect you couldn't market research your way out of a wet paper bag and wouldn't know a business or process constraint if it kicked you in the nuts.

Re:It's the stigma (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702103)

I suspect you cant interpret that long string of bullshit double speak as time to cut your losses and and develop a new product for a new market.

Iphones are trivial bits of engineering that exist only because the capitol needed to improve on and crush them is limited only to the people already in charge of producing them. If you work for Ithing incorporated you know that you produce what your told to produce. If your an engineer you design what your told to design. It takes no special skillset among any number of people to make the next Ithing by adding 2 more gigs of memory to the disk and calling it an upgrade. It takes no special skill to do the logistics to find out how much that costs and whether it will net you more or less money.

You are not given free reign to take your knowledge and use it wisely for good. Why do car companies deliberately hobble their vehicles. We've had 60mpbg fast, safe cars since 1960.

Tell me you geniuses can figure out how to make this shit yourself?

You are slaves to your own perceptions.

Re:It's the stigma (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702209)

Iphones are trivial bits of engineering

Speaking as someone who has been involved in hardware development, you have no idea WTF you're talking about.

-jcr

Re:It's the stigma (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702275)

So why are you too lazy to go do this since it takes no special skillset to do it? Or are you less than special?

Re:It's the stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702315)

Speaking of 'Slave to one's own perceptions', I've never seen such a holistically judgmental and bigoted post regarding white-collar workers in my life. Perhaps it's time you address your inferiority complex head-on instead of on a public forum. There are many fantastic folks that work at all levels and types of job, that you feel it appropriate to stereotype all formally-educated people into a single group speaks more to your level of intelligence and bigotry than any degree, or lack thereof, ever could. It's easy throwing stones at people in positions of power, but if you'd ever been in one you'd quickly realize what's meant by, "The burden of command."

Re:It's the stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702451)

All the formally educated people I have met that don't come on here and whine about their life prospects don't hear it from me. My response was to the idiot who thinks college produces intelligence, when in fact it is entirely the other way around. Intelligence should be using college. But it isn't and I see more of that then I do the other kind, so much so there's only been 20 people I respect for bothering to use their education for knowledge rather then as a means of controlling their fellow man via a piece of paper.

So yep, I stereotyped. There are exceptions. But the vast majority of proles really think Harvard = some kind of godlike entitlement.

Re:It's the stigma (5, Funny)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702203)

I would be better then Ballmer for sure.

I certainly don't doubt that...

-jcr

Re:It's the stigma (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702415)

There is absolutely no office or executive position my uneducated self could not preform 120% better then most self entitled pushover bitches. Because I'm a problem solver.

You're a problem solver, eh? Do you understand that's corporate-speak for, "can't actually do anything-but-want-to-sound-impressive?" If you had skills you'd actually list them. If you don't, then you solve problems.

Re:It's the stigma (2)

fliptout (9217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702047)

Menial jobs in China are basically indentured servitude with few opportunities for advancement or even opportunities to find out what else is out there. Skipping these jobs, for an educated worker, is totally understandable.

Re:It's the stigma (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702293)

seriously? factory job == menial job? did you read about how factory workers can go work in different factories easily?

Re:It's the stigma (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702483)

Have you SEEN how shitty the air is in China? Where do you think that foulness is coming from? People are making the mistake of thinking like an American with our clean and more or less safe working conditions to those in China where its such a nasty grimy dead end job that they had to put nets around Foxconn to catch the jumping workers, remember?

Re:It's the stigma (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702277)

And that's the problem with education, well, university education nowadays. You spend years educating yourself so you can be knowledgeable about something you truly want to know inside and out.

Going to university to "get a job" is just dumb, except where it is required (and that's the rub--too many places require it when there's no legal reason to do so, they use it as a way to screen applicants--of course, with 69% of highschool students now going into university/college, it's a worthless filter).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a factory job *if* the reason you went to university was to become particularly educated in something. In fact, some of the smartest people out there preferred such "menial" jobs because it gave them an opportunity to keep thinking about what they enjoyed most.

Re:It's the stigma (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702495)

That's not true. My first holiday job while at college was on a factory floor (in Scotland). They did quite regularly recruit for their production engineers and so on off the factory floor.

Re:It's the stigma (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702507)

Not to mention if the choice is between "bad office work" and Foxconn... I think the choice is clear.

It sounds like Chinese workers want the same thing that American workers want: better working conditions. If the pay isn't sufficient to draw adequate quantity of talent then you need to start upping your incentives. Reduce quotas and hours (after all more than 40 hours a week is a waste of money since you're just paying overtime for someone to do the same amount of work), improve working conditions (maybe mix up positions throughout the day to prevent repetitive injuries and strain) etc.

Re:It's the stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701855)

Perhaps, but more so a factory job is a dead end. You might make shift supervisor, but not much beyond that.

Re:It's the stigma (2)

satuon (1822492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702051)

Yes, but the idea for 'prospects' smacks of playing the lottery. True, an office job might give you the theoretical chance to rise to be the CEO, but what is the chance of it actually happening? People need to consider the average salaries through their lifetime, not one in a million chances to get a million bucks a month.

Re:It's the stigma (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702339)

A factory worker in China can make up to as much as a pilot. A unionized pilot in USA for one of the big airlines makes $250k to $500k.

If you gave me that to work in a factory, I'd go.

Guess what happens in China? They save up their money, and in 3-5 years go back to their home town rich, and start their own business.

Re:It's the stigma (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702107)

Well the whole being locked in and dieing in fire because the owners locked the fire doors is a bit of a disincentive ala Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911

Re:It's the stigma (2)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702145)

In the past in the USA, american corporations had career paths where someone could start as a mail-room worker and move all the way up to CEO (working in the mail-room would have given someone insider knowledge of all the important departments, who spent the most time talking to who).

In the UK, manufacturing companies had or have inhouse training programs to allow employees to migrate up from junior positions to R&D and/or management positions.

Re:It's the stigma (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702431)

People that started in the mail-room and made it to CEO were almost always the former CEO's/Chairman's son.

They didn't stay in the mail-room long.

And why should they? (4, Interesting)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701619)

Let's be honest, college in China is no where near the difficulty as in the U.S. It's even harder than Japan if folks who've been to both countries are to be belived. You work hard for an education, you deserve something better than being a semi-automoton.

But he will not consider applying for a full-time factory job because Mr. Wang, as a college graduate, thinks that is beneath him...

“I have never and will never consider a factory job — what’s the point of sitting there hour after hour, doing repetitive work?” he asked.

Now we get on our graduates' cases when they complain about doing menial jobs. It's a tough first year (or 5) right after school, but in places like China where you're competing against literally millions in the same line, what are your odds of personal advancement without connections?

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701691)

Let's be honest, college in China is no where near the difficulty as in the U.S.

What?!? There's some place in the world where any part of the education system is WORSE than the USA? Preposterous! Pull the other one! Next you're going to tell me that OTHER alarmist figures woven deeply into our pop culture collective subconscious are inaccurate!

Re:And why should they? (5, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702243)

The headlines you see about the horrible education system in U.S. are referring to K-12. (student age 6 - 17). When it comes to universities, U.S. is still the envy of much of the world. (else you wouldn't see the flood of Chinese and Korean students coming to American colleges)

In East Asian countries, kids are expected to study 20 hours a day to prepare themselves for the university entrance exam, which is extremely competitive. Getting into a top university sets you up for life. But once you actually get INTO a university, you don't need to study much at all. It's the exact opposite of U.S. where everything prior to college is a breeze, but you actually have to study and learn stuff to get your degree (at least if you're a STEM major)

I have a co-worker who graduated from a S. Korean university in 1997. He regales us with stories of how he drank and chased girls in college. Once he woke up on the day of a final exam with a hangover, realized he knew absolutely nothing about the topic, so he wrote a personal essay involving himself, the professor, national ethics, and how wants to thank the professor for his hard work which is benefiting mankind. He ended up getting a C and passed the course.

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701739)

Let's be honest, college in China is no where near the difficulty as in the U.S. It's even harder than Japan if folks who've been to both countries are to be belived. You work hard for an education, you deserve something better than being a semi-automoton.

But he will not consider applying for a full-time factory job because Mr. Wang, as a college graduate, thinks that is beneath him...

“I have never and will never consider a factory job — what’s the point of sitting there hour after hour, doing repetitive work?” he asked.

Now we get on our graduates' cases when they complain about doing menial jobs. It's a tough first year (or 5) right after school, but in places like China where you're competing against literally millions in the same line, what are your odds of personal advancement without connections?

Hard work for an education does not mean you deserve anything. Difficulty is meaningless in determining what a person deserves.

Re:And why should they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701853)

90% of college in the U.S. does not even involve original input back into the fields people are studying. They are just wrote memorization. With the most critical thinking being in paper writing. But as long as you follow a concrete set of rules of organization, your point could be complete bullshit. As long as its correctly formatted you get your investment back and a bit of paper to hang on the wall and be proud of.

One of my Ph.D friend was not even allowed to submit a controversial point of view on middle easter language because the professor didn't like it. Not because it was wrong, or lacked supporting facts or was incorrectly formatted. Simply because the professor was a douche bag.

That tells me the college system is very sick.

Oh by the way they backed up Obama's campaign, major universities were heavy contributors, the colleges have a monopoly on information dissemination in this country and indeed dictate what available and to whom. They are not places to learn, share, and create knowledge, they are places to train and slowly ascend the ladders of bureaucracy.

Re:And why should they? (5, Informative)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702187)

"wrote memorization"

IT IS "ROTE," NOT "WROTE."

This is the second usage in this thread so far. Good grief.

If you are going to criticize the current education system, then use the correct terms.

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702233)

I would prefer to use a sledge hammer and a highly trained crazed hoard of Amazon chicks, but I will settle for poor grammar and shitty English. Because unlike you college graduate hoop jumpers, I am jumping no hoops. I'm just happy to come here and trolololololol, while I comfortably eat my food in my mothers basement.

If I was an executive with a college degree I could just have my secretary spell check and edit my TPS reports.

Re:And why should they? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702423)

If you are going to criticize the current education system, then use the correct terms.

Have sympathy on them, they are the object lesson.

Re:And why should they? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702457)

If he'd wrote more by rote, perchance he'd not've misspelled 'rote.'

Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701663)

People who have learned to use their brains don't want to turn off their brains.
News at 11.

Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (2)

Art3x (973401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701675)

From the summary:

Vocational schools and training programs are unpopular because they suffer from a low statue of for people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds.

Can anyone tell me what this sentence means?

Re:Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701697)

It's marginally clearer if one reads "status" for "statue", and if one uses a comma instead of the nonsensical "of":

Vocational schools and training programs are unpopular because they suffer from a low status, for people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds.

Still not great, but at least it's gone from "gibberish" to "barely comprehensible".

Re:Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701779)

My guess:

Vocational schools and training programs are unpopular because they suffer from a low statue of four people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds.

That darn statue! Quit making those schools suffer, you, you...oooooh!

Re:Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701755)

No, words cause me no understand writing what was.

HOLY MONKEY SHIT, FUCK. I can see the submitter being an idiot,but what the fuck does timothy bring to the table????

Re:Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701877)

timothy is a force multiplier.

Just replace "statue" with "status". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702015)

A one letter typo that completely destroys the meaning.

Re:Just replace "statue" with "status". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702309)

A low status of for for people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds

Not helping.

Re:Slashdot suffers from a low statue of editing (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702175)

What I understood from this summary is that chinese graduates are accusing Steve Jobs about factory conditions.

An oft-forgotten saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701693)

"Society still needs ditch diggers."

While my chemistry teacher in high school was just trying to emphasize how important it was to take our studies seriously, it's easy to forget that there are labor-intensive jobs out there required for society to function, and the more we focus on education, the more we deprive the labor market of people willing and able to do these jobs. Hilariously enough, while we should be automating the most tedious, backbreaking labor we instead focus on replacing jobs that require training instead...

Of course, since we live in a capitalist society that values labor over quality of living, there's always this memorable quote [wsj.com] :

At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

Quote Judge Smails properly (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701813)

Danny Noonan: I planned to go to law school after I graduated, but it looks like my folks won't have enough money to put me through college.
Judge Smails: Well, the world needs ditch diggers [imdb.com] , too.
Lacey Underall: [to Danny] Nice try.

The economic point here is that, when we let government sodomize markets, mis-allocation of resources occurs.
Cranking out graduates with degrees in Recreational Whining is fine for grievance-group-based politics, but suck-tacular in general. See Instapundit [google.com]

Re:An oft-forgotten saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701945)

Does it? Who digs a ditch by hand? What's this thing for? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excavator [wikipedia.org]

capitalist society that values labor over quality of living

This is one of those nonsense premises conservatives use to set up a straw man. Wonderful. It doesn't actually mean anything, and it is immeasurable as to what "society" values. Impossible to refute, despite labor being typically valued by socialism and not capitalism. So let's see how he is gonna try to land the nonsense plane:

this memorable quote [wsj.com]

.... a Milton Friedman quote. Brilliant.

Funny how this story has nothing to do with the US, nor government, nor are these employees being given hand-out jobs, or labor stimulus. And it has about zero to do with Neoclassical vs Keynesian economics.

Did you really twist this all around in your head to get your feathers in a ruffle so you could spout conservative talking points? Can you teach this mental gymnastics?

Re:An oft-forgotten saying (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702375)

.... a Milton Friedman quote. Brilliant.

Especially since it is unlikely Milton ever said it. The attribution is third hand, and the quote has also been attributed to other people about other places.

If a backhoe does as much work as twenty men with shovels, it still makes sense to use the shovels if the cost of a laborer is less than 1/20th of the cost of the backhoe, which would often be the case in poor countries. Even more so if the laborers would otherwise be unemployed and on the dole. Using spoons would never make sense. So it is a poor analogy, and one Milton would be unlikely to make.

It isn't just China (5, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701703)

We've all heard the ancient urban myths about PhD's flipping burgers, but here in the States there seems to be a social stigma among younger graduates attached to manufacturing jobs that sometimes clouds one's financial judgement. Holding out for a cool-sounding title and a comfy chair over a steady job that pays considerably more, just because a lot of rednecks or minorities work there too, just doesn't make sense. You can still pursue your dream job while you earn a living, and you can do your laughing at the other people on payday.

Re:It isn't just China (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701869)

"We've all heard the ancient urban myths about PhD's flipping burgers"

Ah ... yes. Who could forget about the Grecian tale of the Red Dragon who descended upon Plato, forced him to educate him, and then was banished through a wormhole, where was forced to flip burgers at the entrance to a popular vomitorium.

Re:It isn't just China (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701975)

Or maybe they just want a job that can pay their student loans and live a little? Or that by getting a manufacturing job, you just admitted that you wasted 4 years of your life?

The wage increase in unskilled labor is temporary as the barrier to entry is low.

Re:It isn't just China (1)

satuon (1822492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702149)

On the contrary. The barrier to entry will increase, as more and more people become college educated and refuse to take manufacturing jobs.

Re:It isn't just China (1)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702225)

That would be the most reasonable explanation. I was job hunting in the UK some time ago. The cost of living had risen so much that 20K was the minimum salary that would allow anyone to just exist (pay rent, energy bills and council tax and buy food). Many employers were offering considerably less than that for employment as a software engineer (15K or less). In many cases, graduates were expected to pay for intern experience.

In other countries, there are vocational training program where you have to attend a polytechnic course, then do an apprenticeship before being considered qualified.

Re:It isn't just China (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702427)

Actually, for many students graduating nowadays, the crushing expense of student debt almost guarantees that the "learned it on the streets" employee will do better than they do. For example, if you're a law student(*), your prospects are so dismal that the opportunity cost will hurt more over time than simply having worked a "regular" job. It's 4 years of your life you could have been investing for, but instead you were accruing debt for.

Consider how much money you would have, after interest, if you were to save just $10 a day (that's only one hour's pay after tax) in your $35,000 a year job (yes, you might think it's high, but that's the average starting wage for a trades helper--it goes up from there--I know know, I did that job) you would have amassed almost $20,000 in banked cash assuming you chose wise investments. You'd also be earning $50,000+ a year once the university grad graduates because you'd now be a journeyman.

The fresh college grad is getting themselves a nice $35,000 a year pay to start off, just like you, but they have to put $10 a day towards student debt for the next 10+ years (don't forget the debt accrues interest the day you step out of college). In 10 years, the journeyman has now banked over $100,000 (assuming they up their daily savings with their increase in pay). While I don't doubt there's a point the college grad will beat the journeyman in salary, and eventually after-debt income, I have to wonder--how close to retirement is that point now? We're already at 32 years old and the journeyman has $100,000 cash, and the college grad $0 (but no debt!). Perhaps 10 years after that they might be equal in savings? By age 42 your children have likely left home--do you need money so desperately anymore?

Or, more importantly, one has to ask themselves what is more rewarding. Pushing papers around the legal system, or building brick walls? You might be surprised at the answer, if you consider the question honestly.

(*) - Or any of the other popular ones, history, geographic, librarian, teacher

Everyone makes their own choices, and I don't envy anyone's decision, not do I deride it--except if your decision is to be a lazy good for nothing slob. :) But there's plenty of pride that comes from factory work (or any sort of manual labour job). I may be a sysadmin now, but I take no less pride in the time I spent as an electrician.

Germany and well paid manufacturing jobs (4, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701981)

Here in Germany, there are some factory jobs that can compete with the salary one would get as an engineer, but not many.
And they tend to be skilled jobs, so it is not just a matter of "oh, I feel like doing manufacturing for a change", you usually have to show that you've successfully completed some form of vocational training. So the graduate who has never worked in a factory before might not be accepted for these jobs.

He could try for an unskilled job instead but the pay is much lower then. The Chinese situation seems pretty unique.

Education isn't what it used to be (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702085)

but here in the States there seems to be a social stigma among younger graduates attached to manufacturing jobs that sometimes clouds one's financial judgement.

From the article, writing about China:

"Students themselves have not adjusted to the concept of mass education, so students are accustomed to seeing themselves as becoming part of an elite when they enter college" ... China has a millenniums-old Confucian tradition in which educated people do not engage in manual labor.

The US used to be more about manufacturing, and there was no disgrace to being an engineer in a factory. There was a certain contempt for "college men" as impractical and lazy. That lasted through WWII and into the 1950s. Then came the post-war education boom, a vast number of college graduates, and, for a while, jobs for them. Then came information technology, and a huge cutback in paper-pushing.

China is going into their education boom with the paper-pushing era already over.

Re:It isn't just China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702205)

"We've all heard the ancient urban myths about PhD's flipping burgers..."

It isn't a myth. The job market for PhD chemists is so horrible that according to the American Chemical Society only 38% of recently graduated PhD chemists were employed full-time in 2011, down from 44% in 2010. Note that they don't say full time employed doing chemistry either, and the job market for other scientists isn't any different.

Re:It isn't just China (2)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702245)

College graduates tend to stay away from factories usually because they're afraid of becoming too comfortable. I didn't graduate college, but I've been programming since I was 13. Landed a programming job right out of high school. Got laid off(temporarily) for about a year and half. After savings ran out, I had to work somewhere. A factory job was my only choice. Sure, it was a living. But, while I was there, I didn't come home wanting to program. I couldn't just work there and pursue other interests. The work was too demanding of me physically. (although, I'd usually program some on the weekends).

The primary problem I had with working there though was the mentality of my coworkers and management. Managements view was that everyone was replaceable. Right before I quit a person who had been working there for 10 years go hurt (pretty seriously) on the job. Turns out he had went around a safety guard because of a defect in the machine (couldn't do something easily without going around the guard). It had been mentioned to management, but they never did anything. Day after he go hurt he came in bandaged up and on pain killers ready to attempt to do some work. They fired him. At that point I decided I'd never go back there. Put in two weeks notice a month later and stopped showing up the day after

Re:It isn't just China (1)

Beefpatrol (1080553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702355)

You can still pursue your dream job while you earn a living, and you can do your laughing at the other people on payday.

That's just it though -- you can't realistically do this very well. You can't exactly tell your factory foreman, "sorry, can't work this afternoon, I have a job interview." And that is after the fact that one is not likely to have much energy for finding a job after working all day. (Yes, I realize this is the time to suck it up and work a full day and then come home and work on your resume or whatever, but realistically, you could do a better job of it when you aren't fatigued; looking for a job can easily be a full time job by itself. The fatigue bit isn't an intractable part of the problem, it is just another thing that makes it harder.)

and in the us Factorys are saying ther skills gaps (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701711)

and in the us Factorys are saying there are skills gaps with people and they are pushing advanced manufacturing programs from community colleges
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-26/news/ct-met-new-harper-college-jobs-program-20120627_1_manufacturing-summit-harper-college-production-workers [chicagotribune.com]

Re:and in the us Factorys are saying ther skills g (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701825)

The problem is the pay, if the manufacturing job pays $12.50 an hr why bother? If they won't raise pay to get more people there isn't a real shortage.

Re:and in the us Factorys are saying ther skills g (3, Insightful)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702197)

back in the day factories had to train people to develop these skills, and it cost them money. factories pushing those costs onto education, which is paid for by the future employee or the government is funny. Of course they'd like colleges to teach exactly what they need - it will save them a lot of money!

No (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701713)

" If we do succeed bringing back factory jobs, are their enough people want them?"

Already most factories in the US are staffed by immigrants. Either we're going to move the factories to them, or they'll come work in the factories here.

Terrible editing (1)

heteromonomer (698504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701743)

The submitter was probably a non-native English speaker so his language errors can be excused. What the hell is with the slashdot editing? Come on guys... it takes one minute to correct the mistakes in that summary.

Re:Terrible editing (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702097)

You should have seen what it looked like before Timothy's editing.

Supply and demand (1)

satuon (1822492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701745)

Jobs are not just an excuse to hand people wages. You hire workers for the product they create. So there must be enough demand for whatever educated people do if they are to make a living. And the more they are the smaller the part each one gets of the pie.

So people just blindly assuming that being educated in a university will automatically make them richer needs to stop. It might be true, but it's not automatic! The more people enroll in university the less true it becomes.

I can see both sides of this (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701751)

As a holder of a graduate degree who can currently only get work as unskilled labor, I can see both sides of this. I work on the ramp at the airport, and while the job isn't really all that bad, intellectually it is unstimulating and rather boring; obviously I am also greatly overqualified for it. The thing is, turns out there are a lot of people there with college degrees, including in things like law or engineering. And, once you get a few years in, you can actually make decent money: one guy I know who has been there 7-8 years makes about 70k a year with overtime. You actually end up working with some pretty good people, and there is opportunity to move up, especially if you have an advanced degree and the ability/desire to advance. In any case, its a whole lot better than sitting at home drawing unemployment. Not everyone is going to get to work their dream job, and eventually you have to make a decision on whats more important: waiting around for year for a tiny shot at getting a job in the field you studied for, or taking a job with pretty decent pay that will let you pay off your education debt and provide for yourself/your family.

In this specific case, it seems like a no-brainer. If you are in fact skilled and intelligent, take that factory job. In a few years you'll probably end up a foreman, supervisor, or manager. Again, as someone in a similar situation, it comes down to this: job>no job.

Re:I can see both sides of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42701947)

If you are in fact skilled and intelligent, take that factory job. In a few years you'll probably end up a foreman, supervisor, or manager.

Unless everyone else also has advanced degrees, in which case you're back to where you started.
While this will be an unpopular opinion, it seems to me this is a side effect of overpopulation as well. Whereas there was a much smaller pool of humans 100 years ago, exponential growth has led to problems of scale we have otherwise never encountered in our history as the dominant species on the planet.

I don't have a realistic solution that would be implemented, but I think the person who comes up with one that is actually implemented and succeeds in reducing population to manageable levels will be heralded for it. I tend to believe nature will take of things as it always does when species populations get too large for their ecosystem and the effects of that are rather unpleasant ones.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702019)

This is IMHO not related to overpopulation. After all, if all else were equal, you'd need twice as many people to support twice as many people. The need scales with the supply because both are essentially identical.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702409)

After all, if all else were equal, you'd need twice as many people to support twice as many people.

All else isn't equal. Productivity increases in the last few decades completely put the lie to this, with productivity increasing the most during labor gluts (after all, if the boss comes to you and tells you to do twice the work or they'll find someone else in all those twice as many people, what are you going to do?)

Re:I can see both sides of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702441)

Errr. You're assuming that everyone has the same spending ability. Overpopulation is about billions of poor people who cannot afford any of the services you offer.

Re:I can see both sides of this (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702509)

we have no such problem, the percentage of world's poor is shrinking

http://www.economist.com/node/21548963 [economist.com]

technology and economic growth, bitch

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702087)

If you are in fact skilled and intelligent, take that factory job. In a few years you'll probably end up a foreman, supervisor, or manager.

Unless everyone else also has advanced degrees, in which case you're back to where you started. While this will be an unpopular opinion, it seems to me this is a side effect of overpopulation as well. Whereas there was a much smaller pool of humans 100 years ago, exponential growth has led to problems of scale we have otherwise never encountered in our history as the dominant species on the planet.

I don't think it's overpopulation, it's oversaturation. 100 years ago, there weren't as many people, yes. But there were also fewer educated people. The equivalent of today's high school education could land you a really good, high paying job. 50-75 years ago you had a lot of people, but most people stopped after high school. For those that went to college, they got the science/research/management jobs, while those with high school education or less got everything else. Following WWII and the GI Bill, you started seeing a lot more people go to college, who then wanted their kids to go to college, and for forth. So now you have more people that are more educated, but you still have all these jobs that don't require education that have to be filled. And, to stand out from those with undergraduate degrees, people now have to get graduate degrees. Essentially, an undergraduate degree now does what high school diplomas used to go, while graduate degrees have become the equivalent of a college degree. As more people get educated, the effects those degrees have on job prospects get watered down. What will fix this is when people realize you don't need a college degree to get a good job. If you want to be an aircraft mechanic, go to a votec and get your A&P certification, not to a university and get a degree in aeronautical engineering. And in this specific example, you can get a pretty good job with an A&P certification: the jobs start out around $18 an hour and quickly move up into the mid 20s, without the debt that comes with getting an engineering degree.

also the college system is teaching skills it was (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702255)

also the college system is teaching skills it was not really build for some stuff 4+ years is over kill and others it can rush stuff.

I say MORE 2 year degrees and some kind of badges systems with skills that have there own time frames and settings.

4 years is to much theory.

We need more hands on learning and tech schools (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702207)

We need more hands on learning and tech schools also not all jobs need a 4+ year degrees.

And the older degree system is not really build for lot's of jobs maybe high level CS but not other parts of IT that need the tech school parts and real work place setting.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1, Insightful)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702017)

But, when your working life is over, what have you really accomplished besides earning a wage? Why attend university at all?

I see this with my father. He just retired after 31 years of hard manual labor where he could earn 90k/year with overtime. It's great that he had that option and he took advantage of it as much as possible. Now at 63, he doesn't have any hobbies and shuns intellectual stimulation because his brain has been dulled beyond repair.

Thanks, but, no thanks! Hold out for the desired position and it's a life-changing decision if you don't.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702099)

If the factory jobs are the high-paying ones, maybe the solution would be to have two part-time jobs: One part-time factory job for the good pay, and one part-time office job for your brain.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702237)

Ironically, that is what essentially what I have been doing while in grad school. I worked my decently paying part-time job on the ramp while I finished up grad school. After I graduated a year ago, I've kept the part time job while looking for something more in my field. I am to the point now where if full time opens up I will take it, but I'm still going to keep looking for my desired job, and am also contemplating going back and getting a teaching degree.

Re:I can see both sides of this (3, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702217)

Now at 63, he doesn't have any hobbies and shuns intellectual stimulation because his brain has been dulled beyond repair.

That was his choice, not a product of the job. If you truly want to develop a hobby or have intellectual stimulation, you find a way to do so. If he was working so much OT that he was making 90k a year, work a little less over time, make 80k or 75k a year, and have time to travel, or build a car in your garage, or whatever hobby you want. Just like with any other job you find, you have to have to find that balance between making enough money to support your desired quality of life and the time to enjoy that life. At work I can talk about things like sports, or guns (surprising number of people their are pro firearm ownership) with my coworkers. If I want more stimulating conversation, I go hang out with my grad school friends who are getting their Master's/PhDs, and we can talk about politics, or science, or, again, even sports. Or I can stay at home and read books that are generally relegated to being used as textbooks but I read for fun because I enjoy the subject material. We only stop learning and thinking when we want to.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702247)

That will change over time as the friends with Masters/PhDs start pursuing intellectual pursuits full-time for their career. Perhaps it still works now, but give it 10-15 years, and you'll see a huge difference in behavior, especially in regard to child rearing. Sadly, that's just the way it is :(

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702257)

Especially, when one gets locked into a financial lifestyle that necessitates mandatory overtime. There are only so many hours/day.

Re:I can see both sides of this (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702271)

How about not living at home with your parents and being a loser no woman would want to be a mile away from? Isn't that worth getting up and going to work for?

Disclaimer, I did something stupid when the great recession hit. I graduated in 2009 and worked a few jobs before that. When times got hard I took any job I could get and my wife left me for a man with a steadier future who was not all pissed off about it.

I had to move back home with my parents. Insulting as i am in my 30s. I turned down jobs that paid 10/hr because I am worth more. I am educated and made more in the past right? Guess what.

Over a year has gone bye and the only look I had were 2 temp jobs in my field. Well, I lost my car, lost my posessions, and now employers feel I am lazy and not even worth $10/hr. My past references are gone and working for other people, and now I have a whole on my resume so big you can drive a truck through it!

If I could start over I would be happy to make $12/hr an hour with the other CS grads in my area working for IBM at their call center and not telling the headhunter to fuck himself when he offered $24,000 a year. I told him "Are you crazy! I owe $40,000 in student loans .."Now I am aiming for $16,000 a year. $7.25/hr with 40 hours a week lands you $16,500 a year. Can you believe that?

I will probably never retire of find another woman again as I thought I was too good to take any job. So I know I am going to be bashed and insulted here saying "I brought this on my self or I am an idiot". But my lesson for any reader is if you are offered a position take it! Do it, and after a year quit or be promoted. Not everyone gets to make $40k a year out of school. It is 2013. THere are hundreds of H1B1 visa works happy to do it for less with +8 years experience!

Go whine at the situation all you want but at the end of the day you are responsible for your upkeeping or your families. I hope I can make $38,000 again some day but right now I really need to earn it. You need that experience and a very good trackrecord for that salary.

Outside of Silcon Valley I know of no one making $80k a year (read your other post). Wages are and have been going down for many years. It is a fact of life and I applaud the grandparent as I am sure he made the right move and will get rewarded quicker than from what I did.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702295)

Relocate. In Germany you'd easily be making a solid wage and on your way to a "Blue Card."

Re:I can see both sides of this (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702381)

I only have 2 references and have no money. I will accept a lower wage position and be happy I have a job or change fields. If I study I can become a teacher. I do not speak German anyway.

Thanks for the advice.

My point is sometimes we live in an employers market. Sometimes we live in an employees market. The employer has the strings and the 1950s - 1990s were an extrodinary time frame. Those opportunites are not there anymore or are there but to a lesser extent. I think working entry level and sucking it up with lower wages for 3 years is the way to go. I am sure that other poster can move into bigger and brighter things at the airport or ask to move into managerial positions. When the economy improves those who were like me and turned down these jobs will still remain unemployed as an HR filter.

I can't change this but I am just stating the facts if you are screwed over. The best thing to do is work and change fields. Yes it hurts you as you wont make as much as your previous salary, but perhaps you were overvalued anyway? Ever thought of that? You can make 80k a year again but it will take a few years. etc.

Re:I can see both sides of this (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702433)

In any case, its a whole lot better than sitting at home drawing unemployment.

Yes. Being productive feels good.

vocational secondary schools and training programs (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701765)

that have virtually no chance of moving on to a four-year university and They also suffer from a stigma. Is a big issue and we have that in us right now.

WE NEED TO BACK OFF this idea of needing 4 year universitys.

Americans won't go back to that (1)

Leuf (918654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701799)

Americans aren't willing to go back to 19th century factory life, which is essentially what they have in China now. It's not enough to raise the pay a little, the working conditions will have to be improved if they want a workforce that isn't completely desperate to take those jobs.

Re:Americans won't go back to that (1)

pswPhD (1528411) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701891)

Americans aren't willing to go back to 19th century factory life, which is essentially what they have in China now. It's not enough to raise the pay a little, the working conditions will have to be improved if they want a workforce that isn't completely desperate to take those jobs.

In addition, why work for 12 hours a day in a factory sweat shop, with no chance of advancement to a better position? It would be better to take a pay cut initially taking the office job, then work your way up the ladder.

Re:Americans won't go back to that (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702071)

The problem is that the higher one goes up the ladder, the fewer jobs there are. My advice for someone graduating high school this year is, get a job where you can learn a trade (electrician, plumber, carpenter, etc). Only go to college if you have a specific long term career in mind (engineer, certain specific computer related jobs, medical profession and a handful of other specific careers) and those only if doing the job seems like it would give you joy.

It's about status (5, Interesting)

bbartlog (1853116) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701817)

For young people (those still looking for a mate, in particular), taking a factory job would be a big blow to their status, regardless of the level of pay. Better an unemployed white collar professional than an employed manufacturing worker, welder, or truck driver. It's similar in the US. Financially the median person is better off becoming a truck driver at 19 than pursuing a law degree (and racking up the associated debt), but being a trucker is really socially limiting. Likewise manufacturing in China, I expect.

apprenticeships and trades schools get no respect (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701829)

apprenticeships and trades schools get no respect now days and that was lead us down the route of college for all with lot's worthless degrees and other degrees that trun out people with big skills gaps. Look at tech / IT to much CS degrees (that is not sever / networking / desktop) and lots of tech / trades schools out that get passed over.

this makes perfect sense for several reasons: (0)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701951)

1. The number one factor determining what you'll make over a lifetime is your first starting salary. This is because all successive employers will demand to know what you made at your previous position. In my experience, it's worth losing a half year of wages to get the initial higher salary. If I thought I was worth 80k on the market, I wouldn't take a lesser position for 40-50k because I'd never see 80k at the position that should be paid at 80k. At a maximum they'd offer a 50% increase which would work out to 60k-75k. If one calculates cost of living increases from an 80k starting wage versus a 60k-75k wage, it doesn't take so long for that half-year to be made up.

2. In countries with reasonable unemployment terms (Europe for example), I can receive 60-90% of my previous wage for between 12 and 48 months. I understand that this doesn't apply in the United States, nor China. But, why on earth, would I work at a lower position than the one I wanted when I could spend my full-time networking, applying and schmoozing. In fact, I know some countries that have PhD students do 2 years at salary and then years 3 and 4 on unemployment.

3. I applaud the Chinese graduate. Stand your ground and head to the US ... they'll soon offer 300k H1-B visas per year.

Re:this makes perfect sense for several reasons: (1)

bbartlog (1853116) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702067)

I don't agree. People can and do get very substantial raises if they do standout work. I went from $35K per year to $48K in two years at one job, and later from $45K to $75K in six years in an entirely different field. It's true that at the very high end, where you're trying to do something like make partner at a big law firm, the kind of path dependency you're talking about applies. But for 95+% of the work force your salary will ultimately come to match your performance.

Re:this makes perfect sense for several reasons: (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702161)

So, it took you roughly 9 years to double your salary (to 75k/year)? I wouldn't really call the progress, especially if there is a university education involved. What I am missing here?

Re:this makes perfect sense for several reasons: (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702195)

That's really only a factor of how desperate you are and how much you stand out in the interview. If you're in a current position and could be persuaded to move, you can always say "no" to an offer that you don't like. If you're on your last month of unemployment, maybe it's a different story. An employer who takes advantage of a potential employee like that probably won't keep people for very long, though. At my last interview I was all set to laugh at their first offer, and then say "Oh... you're serious... OH! Um... tell you what, I'll think it over." I had a little trouble keeping my poker face when they put everything I was planning to ask for on the table initially. So I just went with, "That will do nicely... sir."

Re:this makes perfect sense for several reasons: (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702267)

Why underestimate yourself in the first place?

More places need the German system two tier system (2, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42701965)

More places need the German system two tier system or at least some like where apprenticeships and trades schools are not kicked to the side.

Re:More places need the German system two tier sys (2)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702061)

+1 ... the apprenticeship system is great.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprenticeship#Germany

Re:More places need the German system two tier sys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702489)

No, the German system is where the "system" decides at a fairly early age whether you're "university material" or not, which usually falls along socio-economic or ethnic lines. Go to a trade school in Germany and see how many ethnic-Germans from well-off families are there.

How many slashdotters did not bloom until their late teens?

from a low statue of for people from (1)

epine (68316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702055)

It's a pity so many of these bright people remain underemployed, with such a low bar to entry in advanced economies.

Their? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42702131)

"The more educated people are, the less they want to work in a factory," said an unemployed graduate. If we do succeed bringing back factory jobs, are their enough people want them?"

Wouldn't it be a nice idea to get some of these Chinese graduates to do the spellchecking that the editors somehow don't do?

Over education (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year and a half ago | (#42702163)

This is the classic over education problem. Just because they are a collage graduate doesn't mean they are worth hiring for anything. They may not even be qualified to do ditch digging or accounting. However, they are probably eminently qualified to become politicians.

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