How can we create regular and lucrative opportunities for recent graduates in industries other than finance and consulting?
The national Occupy movement has focused the nation on the fact that our economy is broken. Today, millions of Americans are clamoring for an alternate vision of the America economy. For recent graduates, a lack of regular and lucrative opportunities in next economy industries creates a dangerous hole in the progressive movement, threatening to convince a generation that neither side of the political spectrum has a growth-oriented economic strategy that can offer them employment.
The banking, financial, and consulting industries, while by no means evil, are places that have proven to be better at dividing the pie than growing it. If we want a pro-growth strategy for the economy, we need to be serious about making sure that America’s best minds are going into the industries we believe can drive an economic renaissance.
In a recent article titled “Stop the Wall Street Recruitment,” the authors point to astonishing statistics: “In 2010, even after the economic crisis, the financial services industry drew a full 20 percent of Harvard graduates and over 15 percent of Stanford and MIT graduates.”
A robust alternate pipeline for talent within industries deemed to be values- and growth-oriented by the progressive movement does not exist. A look at the requirements for associate level positions in industries such as clean tech, social entrepreneurship, or micro finance reveals a stunning fact: They mostly want experience from the industries they are looking to subvert, namely consulting, finance, and banking. High achievers at America’s top universities, bastions for progressive thought, are faced with a stark decision upon entering the workforce — sacrifice your progressive ideals or your pocketbooks.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo