The problem started in US in 2008. Historically, people have been used to get a degree (for which they pay $$$), then contact employers or recruiters, and then get a job. This has changed for good, and based on Western countries that have experienced a 10% unemployment rate for 40 years in a row, here's the problem and solution:
- In these countries, unemployment after graduating can last for more than a year (including for analytic degrees), and the first secured position might be irrelevant to your education, under-paid, and thus make your investment in (increasingly expensive) education looks like wasted money. For high school people, the advice is: don't attend university (read below to see why, and what to do instead). For fresh graduates, the advice is: don't apply for jobs, don't even spend an hour trying to find a job. Instead, read on to see what you should do.
- Most of what you can learn in an analytic curriculum, you can learn it for free on the Internet. In addition, the university curriculum could very well teach you outdated material (like 20 year old stuff). So the price that you pay for university training is not to get an education, but rather to get a job. As you can't find jobs anymore, university training is now a waste of money.
- Positions in countries used to 10% unemployment are filled by people who personally know the hiring manager. With so many great applicants, hiring managers can find great candidates that they know in person. One way for a candidate to get this advantage is by doing internships, or leverage your relationship with hiring managers (if you are not born in the right family, it might be very, very difficult).
- In these countries, very smart applicants with great skills and qualifications, who are not born in the right family, have no other choices than become fraudsters, if they want to leverage their skills: this is why so many analytic Ph.D.'s turn to earning money from sophisticated credit card fraud and other digital schemes in countries such as Russia, Israel or France. You can already add US to the list.
- There is one way to avoid these traps: become an entrepreneur right after high school. Yes, it is very hard to become successful, but easier than finding a good job, and better than becoming a fraudster. There isn't opportunities for everyone anymore - we live in a world that looks like a musical chair game: applying for jobs will distract you from getting the only chair left in the game. This applies to analytic people as well, despite all you hear about "lack of analytic talent". As an analytic entrepreneur, you can sell training, become a digital publisher, be an independent arbitrager (designing your own trading, or online bidding strategies, or design sport bet strategies).
- If you are young and healthy: invest in your company, live with friends or parents (to reduce rent fees), don't purchase health insurance, and don't save money for retirement (your 401K is your company, not investments in stocks that will never generate the growth they used to 50 years ago). This frugal life style will help you bootstrap your own company, without having to leverage debt, and because of your low overhead costs, you'll be able to charge low fees and beat your competitors (who pay $$$ in health insurance, retirement, rent or mortgage, and education loans). You might also be able to run you business from home, thus saving money on car and car insurance, and saving commute time ("the rat race").
- Here's an interesting number: assuming 5,000,000 people in US spent on average 500 hours in 2010 finding a job (applying, job interviews etc.), without success, and their time is worth $20/hour, we are talking about a $50 billion loss per year for the economy. If all these people didn't spend even one hour searching for a job in the first place, but instead created their own job (entrepreneur, or becoming self-sufficient) just after graduation or being laid-off, the loss would be much lower. It might even turn into a gain.