Underemployment, having a low wage job in an unrelated field, affects 40-50% employed post-college grads, while unemployment affects 7.9% of recent graduates (those between the ages 22 and 26 with a Bachelor’s degree). 50% of recent graduates are working jobs that don’t require degrees according to a study by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, so although employment rates may not seem so bad, we must consider that post-grads who are employed may not be working the jobs they had aimed for. The study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is revealing because majors like computer science and engineering are often celebrated today for their high employment while those who study things like journalism and PR are often expected to have a more difficult time but in actuality these majors are fairing about the same.
Medical/Health Science: 3.9% unemployment
Elementary: 5% unemployment
Agriculture/Natural Resources: 6.1%
Journalism: 7% unemployment
General Engineering: 7% unemployment
Advertising & Public Relations: 7.3%
Business: 7.5% unemployment
Computer Science: 8.7%
Law/Policy: 9.2% unemployment
Psychology: 9.2% unemployment
History: 9.5% unemployment.
Arts: 9.8% unemployment
Commercial Art/Graphic Design: 10.5% unemployment
Film/Video/Photographic Arts: 11.4% unemployment
Architecture: 12.8% unemployment
Another study by PayScale revealed that business majors are fairing the worse in terms of underemployment. According to The Huffington Post, “Instead of typical finance work in hedge funds or stocks, many businesses majors find themselves working as collections managers, in retail or as waiters and waitresses.” Payscale compiled a list of the majors that are the most underemployed.
Economics: 3.1 times more likely to be underemployed.
English: 4.6 times more likely to be underemployed.
Biology: 4.9 times more likely to be underemployed.
Psychology: 5 times more likely to be underemployed.
History: 5.5 times more likely to be underemployed.
Liberal Arts: 5.6 times more likely to be underemployed.
Anthropology: 5.8 times more likely to be underemployed.
Drama and Theater Arts: 6.9 times more likely to be underemployed.
Criminal Justice: 6.9 times more likely to be underemployed.
Business Administration and Management: 8.2 times more likely to be underemployed.
So what do we take away from all this? The national employment rate is 7.6% while it is 7.9% for recent graduates. Essentially the country is in a bad way with unemployment and perhaps guiding its future employees down more practical paths. As far as the three studies mentioned in this post go, it seems like everyone, but those in medical, is having a difficult time. No one is where they want to be. That’s a tough thing to deal with and though I would encourage everyone to keep pushing, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t dare tell you to not be disappointed. Do what you have to do to make it during an international financial crisis. There is no shame. There is no personal blame. Just keep pushing.