when i was young things were very different. Back then, not that many people went to university. Some didn't go because they couldn't afford it and others didn't go because they didn't want to. Many of them left school early to start working or learned a trade. The job market wasn't that competitive so it wasn't really necessary to have a degree in order to get a job. Once you were employed, if you were diligent and hard working, you could work your way up in the company. Many managing directors with little formal education had been with their company all their working life. Some of them had started as a messenger, sweeper or in some other low position. They got to know the business as they moved their way up the ladder.
Fast forward to today. More and more young people, especially girls, are going to university now. The job market has become much more competitive and there is no guarantee that they will get employed, even with a degree. They now need to have a degree in a field that is in demand. Sometimes they even need a postgraduate degree just to get a decent job. Business has become infinitely more complex and without a higher education they just wouldn't be able to cope. Gone are the days they could work their way up in the company. The new generation of business allows those with the proper skills and training to rise rapidly in the corporate world. Those without it get left behind. All the time there are younger and better educated people yapping at their heels. To keep ahead they have to make education an ongoing process.
The other thing that has changed is that people do not always stay with the same company for all that long. They often move in order to take up better positions in other companies. Without the proper all round knowledge that higher education gives them, they just would not be able to learn the ropes fast enough to handle their new positions. This is compounded by the fact that more companies are likely to downsize, restructure, merge or close today than has ever happened in the past. The resultant retrenchments force more people into an already crowded job market. Having a higher education makes it much easier to secure a new position.
So what is the bottom line? The bottom line is that it is extremely important that everybody sees the benefit of obtaining a higher education. Not just in anything - it has to be in a field that is in demand. Having the higher education is only the starting point because to stay ahead education must be an ongoing process.