Having a huge glut of people enroll in higher education - IE having a maxed-out education stat & super-generous university grants - might negatively affect productivity, as young people are overqualified for many job positions, and no one starts apprenticeships. This situation could be called Underemployment or Manual Labor Shortage.
We’re seeing this right now in certain countries (see Are apprenticeships the answer to the UK’s STEM skill shortage? | AI & Automation | Manufacturing Global and Investigation into the Shortage of Skilled Labour and Construction Professionals (ukdiss.com) and High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University : NPR Ed : NPR and Construction: apprenticeships, the skills shortage, and the General Election | Womble Bond Dickinson for examples, sources, and policy resolution ideas!).
Having tons of higher-education could affect trade unionist membership & make them slightly unhappy, as their tax dollars are subsidizing education they didn’t need for their own work. IE the person who went to trade school for 3 months and paid $600 for it is subsidizing the person going to university for 4 years. Having very limited university grants would, on the other hand, make trade unionists happy, as they aren’t subsidizing the education of their future manager! Enough grants to cover trade school / apprenticeship, sure, but no need to cover the white collar blokes!
The drive to attend university over apprenticeship / trades could be caused by:
- high unemployment (as young people fear they won’t otherwise find work)
- super-high inheritance tax (as young people may not inherit a family business)
- super-generous university grants
- high amounts of wealthy & middle-class parents
- very low poverty (as people don’t feel compelled to immediately get a job)
Underemployment could cause the following effects:
- very unhappy young people (as they just finished a 4 year degree to get a job as a barista)
- decreased productivity (as factories can’t find workers)
- decreased middle earnings (as those people who got degrees didn’t find work)
- increased automation (as employers desperately try to automate jobs they can’t fill)
- increased trade unionist income (as trade jobs have way more demand than supply)
- increased unemployment (as highly-educated people won’t take blue-collar jobs)
Underemployment might also tie into gig economy? Not sure (I’m not an economist!).
tl;dr make overeducation a problem for productivity via underemployment