pie chartAccording to a newly released study by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, nearly half of recent graduates are working in jobs that they are overqualified for. The study, entitled Why Are Recent Graduates Underemployed? University Enrollments and Labor-Market Realities, revealed that about 48 percent of the nation’s employed college graduates are in jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests requires less than a four-year college degree. An additional 11 percent of employed college graduates are currently working in jobs requiring more than a high-school diploma but less than a bachelor’s, while 37 percent are in occupations requiring no more than a high-school diploma.

The report said that around five million college graduates have jobs that the BLS says require less than a high school education. One reason the study gives for this issue is that past and projected future growth in college enrollments and the number of graduates exceeds the actual or projected growth in high-skilled jobs. The report did note that rising college expenses and the decline in perceptions on benefits of a degree may lead to declining enrollments and market share for traditional schools and the development of new methods of certifying occupation competence.

Other findings included:

  • Comparisons between average college and high school earnings are highly misleading due to high college-dropout rates and overproduction of college graduates, which lowers recent graduate earnings relative to those graduating earlier
  • Not all colleges are equal as typical graduates of elite private schools earn more than graduates of state universities; yet state university graduates fare better than those attending non-selective institutions
  • Not all majors are equal. For example, engineering and economics graduates usually earn almost double what social work and education graduates receive by mid-career

To see the full report, click here.

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