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Religion, Facebook and Employment

by: DocJess

Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:44:32 AM EDT


You might think it would be difficult to merge the three topics in the title but really, not so hard. This is a religious weekend for many people (Happy Passover! Happy Easter!) and like many people, I have seen both friends and family. One of the topics that came up was Facebook. I  have friends and family who are not on Facebook, and it turns out one of the reasons that some people either avoid Facebook, or use a fake name, is because employers might ask to see their feed. That issue of turning over one's Facebook ID and password to potential employers made it to the House last week, and all the Republicans voted against banning the practice. Really.

Facebook is supposed to be a place where you can chat amoungst your friends and family, share pieces of your life, and promote your beliefs. I have some Facebook friends who are incredibly religious and post all sorts of things with which I personally don't agree, but I know these folks, and know that their beliefs do not in any way preclude them from being able to work, and work hard, in their chosen professions. While there are all sorts of protests about the amount of personal information Facebook shares with advertisers, even Facebook is opposed to sharing your information with your employer, or potential employer. I look at my own page: any employer would note that I'm crazy for my puppy, I play Words with Friends (not during working hours), and oh yeah, I have some political beliefs. Silly me, I thought that was protected by that freedom of speech thing. On my personal feed, there are no naked pictures, no porn, nothing involving drinking or drugs, no gang activity. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING untoward. 

However, I have young cousins, g-children and children of friends who cannot say the same. In college and at a party and OMG! holding a drink, even though said "kids" are 21 and are allowed to hoist a beer on a Saturday night. I actually do not know anyone who has never had an alcoholic beverage. If I were an employer (and I have, at times in my life been one) I wonder what I would think of what some people post on their feeds....and then I stop that thought, because I know it's not my business as a potential employer to care what any potential employee of mine does in his off-hours. The issue should be how well he would do the job. But I'm not everyone.

I'm worried about young people and their employment: they're the future, and they are getting truly slammed in this economy, you know, the one without an industrial policy. I posted a few months back:

From 1960 to 2009, the number of working-age men with full-time jobs fell from 83 percent to 66 percent. In Philadelphia, half of all young adults are unemployed, but three in 10 young men ages 25 to 34 had stopped looking for work before the recession hit.  

And now we honestly know why: something called mal-employment, when an entry level job goes to someone with far too much education and experience for that position, freezing out people who honestly are entry level. There is a fascinating article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the topic, replete with anecdotes and lots of statistics. Turns out that people really DO want to work, it's not that they're lazy, or not looking. 

"When a job is repetitious or rule-based, some smart engineer can devise some kind of algorithm to handle the work, sharply reducing the need for people with high school diplomas or less," said Drexel's Harrington. [...]

Why should Ken Dubin, owner of the Dubin Group, a Bala Cynwyd recruiting company, hire a high school grad to be a receptionist when he is able to employ a young woman with a master's degree in organizational development who is educated, articulate, intelligent, personable?

When someone with a master's degree works in admin, where does that leave the articulate, intelligent, personable high school graduate, who might also be capable of handling the job?

A Rutgers survey of college graduates from 2006 to 2010 found that just over half of recent college graduates were working full time, and half of them work in jobs that don't require a college degree.

And so there you have it. 

DocJess :: Religion, Facebook and Employment

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What the stats actually say (0.00 / 0)
We're now four links from the original statistics: the Heldrich Center at Rutgers collected a survey, then they interpreted it, then the Inquirer wrote about it, and then DocJess wrote about what the Inquirer wrote. Everyone in this process provided their source, which was good. But there can be a bit of a game of telephone.

So I found the original report.

"Just over half of recent college graduates were working full time"? Sort of. 53% were working full time and not in school. But that doesn't count those in the military, graduate or professional school, or self-employed.

Perhaps a better way to express the numbers: of those not in graduate school, 70% are either in a full-time job or the military. Another 4% are self-employed, but it's hard to tell whether those are high-powered entrepreneurs or someone selling pencils on a street corner. Of course, there are some who are choosing to work part-time or not at all (taking the first four years out of college there are some people staying home to parent in there). All in all, it's not a robust employment picture, but it's not as bleak as it sounds at first.

What about the "half of them work in jobs that don't require a college degree"? Actually, 52% said they worked in jobs that required a college degree, but another 8% said they didn't know whether their job required a degree or not. And of those in jobs where college degrees was not a requirement, only 60% said they were working below their level of education--in other words, they didn't have "far too much education and experience for that position"--they had the right amount. Put the numbers together, and you're down to 24% working in a position they are over-qualified for. Yes, that's a lot, but it's not the tsunami it sounds like at first.

Oh, and this survey was conducted a year ago. Are things a little better now? Probably.


Scott read the Inquirer link.... (0.00 / 0)
The current numbers are pretty grim.

Here's a sample:

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department released its monthly jobs report, and the news remained grim. In March, the unemployment rate for the nation's youngest workers, aged 16 to 24, was 16.4 percent, double the nation's rate of 8.2 percent, with 3.5 million unemployed. Of the 3.5 million, two million were aged 20 to 24 - an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent.

This week's Time magazine also has an article on young unemployment. (page 46)

Persistent recession and budget cutting have brought situation to crisis proportions in some developed countries - like debt-burdened Greece, where youth unemployment is more than 51%. Over the past two years, the share of Americans ages 18 to 24 who are employed, at 54%, is the lowest on record, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Institute. In 2007, more than 62% were employed.

I'm not sure of the causality, but it still seems bleak to me.  


[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
I've been trying to follow the statistics for unemployment among young people over the past few years, because I see fear causing some poor choices among recent grads.

The stats you cite above are for the whole pool--not the college educated. The situation for the young without college education is indeed bleak. But while I don't have the sources at my fingertips right now (they can be a bit tricky to find), the unemployment rate in the first year after graduation is roughly 9%. That still sounds a little scary until you realize it's like saying that someone graduated in May, started looking, and found a job at the start of July. If that's the average circumstance, it works out to 9% unemployment for the first year.

Yes, it's taking longer for college educated youth to find a job, and yes they're taking jobs that aren't as good--either not as related to their career goals or not as good paying, or less desirable in some other way. But we're collectively exaggerating that aspect of the crisis in a way that's very scary to me. The message we're sending to 14 year olds right now is that college is not worth it: it puts you in a lot of debt, and then you still can't get a job. And yet the disadvantage of not having a college education is greater than ever, as the Inquirer article stresses.


[ Parent ]
No doubt! As a 52 yr old college drop out, (0.00 / 0)
Even with three specialized certifications, I am struggling to make more money than my 25 yr old son with his liberal arts degree from Florida. He works as a sales rep for Kraft and seems to like it. Funny thing, 25 yrs ago I had a similar job without a degree. Today I wouldn't be hired for it. He makes 40-50, plus car, mileage and healthcare, but when he started 4 yrs ago he made 30k with no car, which seems tough for a 4 yr degree. Thank goodness he left college with about 10k in his pocket instead of owing thousands. Free ride and part time on campus job made it possible. The sad thing my college education costs pocket money( $225 per qtr, unlimited hours, yet after turreted I dropped out. But I did learn to stay on top of him to finish!

[ Parent ]
Facebook issues (0.00 / 0)

Several years ago I handled a case (a "date" rape case) in which the other side wanted to introduce posts on the victim's facebook page to show that she was injury prone when she got drunk (and got drunk regularly) to rebut the claim that the injuries from the rape were inflicted by the defendant.

I have also had defendants in leaving scenes of the accident cases post pictures of the damage to their vehicle and comment on the wreck.

While those of us who are conscious of how facebook can be a tool for investigating individuals are careful about what we post (and use the appropriate privacy restrictions for stuff that we want kept to family and close friends), I lot of people seem to be unable to process how public the information is.




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