Why Selecting a College Major Primarily Because of the Employment Outlook in That Field Is a Terrible Idea


Peter Cappelli, a Professor of Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has specialized in studies of employment patterns and, more specifically, shifts in the American economy that have made some jobs obsolete and that have created demand for new specialties.

His most recent book is Will College Pay Off?, and as his interview with Bourree Lam for The Atlantic makes clear, Cappelli argues persuasively in the book against the notion that the value of a college education should be measured by the immediate employability of and compensation received by new graduates. The value of a college education much exceeds that of vocational or job training.

What follows is perhaps the most thought-provoking sections of Bourree Lam’s interview with Peter Cappelli:

“Lam: One of the pieces of this that I found so interesting is when you talk in your book about the futility of students trying to…

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