Re: "I don't often talk to liberal arts majors, but when I do, I order LARGE FRIES"
It's not quite that simple. I've worked with PhD's from some of the highest caliber educational institutions on Earth, and I've worked with people who never graduated high school. The interesting thing about that is, if you weren't informed ahead of time you'd have 50/50 shot at identifying which was which.
Simply going to university, any university, is meaningless if the student is more interested in a degree and potential than greater understanding of their chosen field. Even at top notch, technical schools like Stevens, MIT and Princeton the ability to take exams well is far more valuable than knowledge of a given field.
That situation is exacerbated by the fact that university education can be more correctly labeled 'university training. Courses of study tend to focus on specific technologies and popular practices, rather than fundamental principles. That's about the worst possible way to create a valuable member of any technically oriented field, and the best way to prematurely end a career.
There's no university that can even come close to matching the speed of evolution in commerce. Even things that appear to be done the way for hundreds of years experience large shifts on a regular basis. What you end up with is an undergrad entering the workforce and knowing nothing about the basics of their field and nothing about current technologies, processes and operations within a given field.
Those undergrads, which have become the majority, can't justify even junior engineer or researcher salaries. It takes 18-24 months to beat all that university 'industry trend' garbage out of their heads then a couple more years to educate them on the basics of the field. They can't help with 'innovation' because they don't know what's actually possible. They come up with the most dangerous, ill conceived notions imaginable and, even worse, don't know the difference between data in tables and that same data in an applied environment. In my field, there aren't many reference materials that tell you not to put (Alloy A) in contact with (Alloy B). You've got to be able to deduce that from the data in the tables, which is perfectly fine, if you actually understand the tables. Unfortunately, a lot of even graduate students don't know how to do that.
That's not to say that a university education is a waste, but it's on the student to go beyond the exams and experiment, and learn, on their own time. Getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering does not an Engineer make. It's really easy for governments to push certain tracks of education, but what always happens is the schools just game the system, meet the requirements and ship out tons of people with titles they don't deserve, or even understand.
If driving business is what you want tech people for you've got to teach them the tech before you can even start on teaching them business. Universities all suck at teaching business, and they always have. But in the last 20 years or so they've been sucking at teaching technical disciplines as well. Universities are degrading the value of a degree and undermining the very governments they are supporting. They're targeting career paths with good salaries, but sending the least desirable people toward those paths.
Applied technical disciplines are supposed to be incredibly difficult to learn. It's a safety mechanism that keeps the wrong people from getting into advanced fields where vast amounts of property damage, personal injury and death are the penalties for making mistakes. If a school has a tremendously high graduation rate in complex fields then something is really bad wrong.
Like I tell my interns every year, my responsibilities are my staff and our clients. I refuse to jeopardize either with substandard entry level staff. Nor will I jeopardize anyone else by letting those substandard entry level staffers work in the industry. I'll close every door on Earth to them if I don't find them sufficiently capable. I cannot, with a clear conscience, support someone who doesn't know enough to effectively assess risks. If people get hurt by their errors that makes me responsible for those injuries. If you know your stuff, I'll back you as far as necessary if something unfortunate happens. Unfortunately, far, far too many current graduates simply don't know enough to empower. I'll consider hiring about anyone, but I'm not going to give them engineer or materials scientist pay if they aren't up to the task. If a PhD doesn't want to work for McDonalds pay then they should go back and discuss a refund with their universities.