Under-employment Problem

Now that the unemployment rate in the US is low, people should turn towards another important, yet rarely talked-about problem, under-employment. Under-employment is the phenomenon that people with high educations and qualifications doing jobs that require less qualifications than they possess. For example, having an engineer employed as a janitor. This may not appear to be a problem at first to most people, well, at least he is employed. But this really is a problem because a person with the qualification of an engineer should be making more contributions to the society being an engineer than a janitor. Therefore, if this is happening everywhere, then the society is not nearly close to being optimized, and there is much room for improvement.

I realized underemployment when I talked to my Uber drivers. When I visited NYC, my Uber driver from the airport turned out to be a political scientist from a third world country, we talked about the election, and he expressed his fear for the new president elect and his policies for foreigners. Although having an advanced degree in political science in another country, he could not find a job here in the US that suits his background, so he can only maintain a living by Uber. Another time, my Uber driving in Kuala Lumpur, turned out to be a former quality engineer working for a top 3 oil and gas company in the world. She told me that her company had a massive lay off, and she had been driving Uber for a year now. She also said that many of her Uber driver friends were also engineers laid off by oil and gas companies, as well as aircraft industry. Basically which ever industry suffers economically in the country, much talent within the industry is wasted, and they have to find a way to survive such as driving Uber.

Having talked to various Uber drivers and learning about their stories, I became concerned with the problem of underemployment. If our Uber drivers are engineers and scientists, imagine what they can do when they are being engineers and scientists? How much more work they could have done for the society doing what they were trained for? As someone who does not know much of economics beyond this supply-demand curve, I am not qualified to dig much deeper into this problem. But I hope to discover a way to better optimize our society, and enable people doing what they are best at, instead of wasting their time and therefore wasting resources of the society as a whole.



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