College degrees are very important in China and the United States. In both countries the degrees are considered pathways to good jobs.
The value of getting a degree is leading to more people graduating from college. It is also leading to more people going into the labor market. And that is creating a problem in both countries.
In China, the number of college graduates is four times greater than the number ten years ago. Parents of children from rural communities struggle with low-paying jobs to pay tuition and board in order to help their children enter China’s best schools. With limits on the number of children (one) couples can have, investing in their child is the best way they can make sure they are supported in their old age.
However even when children get college degrees, they face a labor market with fewer jobs.
In the United States more and more jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Such jobs, including receptionists, messengers and fast food workers, used to go to high school graduates.
The reason is the same as in China too many college graduates and too few jobs.
In the United States, as in China, parents and students sacrifice for education. Higher education is essential for the best jobs in both countries. However, if graduates do not have the skills that are in demand, they may find themselves working for low wages in jobs without a future.