Our changing world:
Blue collar workers have watched their jobs and financial security slip away for several decades. In today's economy, college educated workers are seeing the same forces hit their lives.
Having a college education doesn't prevent older workers from facing a significant risk of experiencing a downsizing of their prospects when their jobs go away. Their next job is likely to be lower in pay, benefits and status. In fact, low-wage, non-routine occupations are the least likely jobs to be exported or automated out of existence and today many college-educated workers are competing for these types of jobs.
Higher education, particularly an advanced degree, is still the best way of ensuring future income, Autor says. However, "the degree to which a college education insulates you from downturns and from loss of prestige and earning power of your occupation is unfortunately smaller than it used to be."
A significant contributor to the problem is the cost of healthcare which companies have to carry for older workers compared to younger workers.
If we solve the healthcare problem (ie: take providing healthcare off the back of employers and make it a common good), would it make it easier for companies to compete in the global marketplace where healthcare is not a corporate responsibility and keep older workers on their payrolls? Or are we at the point that only a great deal of education and/or a great deal of luck is required to maintain a middle class workforce in our country?