You can steal a march over your competition by using complex recruitment and selection procedures. This will cost quite a lot of money, but if done correctly, will pay for itself over and over, if it works. Once most of your competitors are doing it, it ceases to be a competitive advantage even if it works. Now it’s a cost burden for all the industry sector. Of course, much of this ‘personnel’ stuff is Mumbo Jumbo designed to keep personnel wallahs in work and consultancy fees. The current vogue is for the laughable ‘competence based’ schemes. Essentially, clown panels of selectors still eye you up and down and appoint people who don’t offend them by being different. Sooner or later you meet a panel where you fit in.
It is not really cost-effective to insist all your toilet cleaners have degrees.
It is not cost effective to sell half your population degrees, even if this expands your national business in education by having more places for foreign students. This is essentially a restrictive practice in which job entry is being bought and sold.
We should, if we have any brain at all, be able to sweep away this crap and invest more directly in jobs and a productive economy. Most of my students are nowhere near as smart as me academically. This does not make me a better cop, manager, rugby player, toilet cleaner or person than them, though I probably have been from time to time. It makes me a better academic. The link between academic and practical knowledge is tenuous, there being many ‘learning transfer’ problems. Academic institutions are lying when they claim to produce students with instantly transferable skills. Employers regularly claim they want high levels of literacy and numeracy, but schools should be achieving this through IT. I doubt employers can use more than 10% real graduate calibre people.
Despite the above, I want to see more education. We need to change nearly all of what we are doing though. Who is likely to have the best ‘business brain’ – someone with a BSc Business Studies and no work experience, or someone who has worked for Tesco for three years as a junior manager? Why do we give the degree to the first one? I forgot – we make her pay – maybe a bit like an officer buying a commission?