Research Finds Growing Number of College Grads Now Underemployed in the U.S.
The Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey, conducted by consulting firm Accenture, has found that employers are not availing themselves of the capabilities of recent college grads. According to the new research, 41 percent of workers graduating from college within the last two years report being underemployed and accepting jobs outside of their field of study. Almost two-thirds of these grads also reported that they will need to continue their education in order to qualify for their preferred job.
Current college students expecting to graduate this year exhibit a significant misperception of their prospects compared to the reality of the job market for recent college grads. Indeed, 77 percent of pending 2013 graduates expect formal training from their first employer while only 48 percent of 2011 and 2012 grads received such training. In fact, 42 percent of 2011 and 2012 graduates expect to need a graduate degree in order to advance in their careers; comparatively, just 18 percent of pending graduates expect to pursue an advanced degree.
“A solution is sorely needed to bridge the disconnect between employers that are concerned about college graduates being unprepared for available jobs and the graduates who feel overqualified for them,” said David Smith, senior managing director of Accenture’s Talent & Organization practice. “Hiring someone with a higher-level degree than is necessary for a given job does not typically result in a higher-performing employee, and does not reduce the need to invest in training specialized skills.”
Accenture reports a real need for employers to improve how they hire and develop new graduates and suggests the following behaviors to ensure these employees develop the skills needed for their jobs: hire based on potential, not on the basis of a “perfect candidate;” make training a part of the employment package; and work more closely with educational institutions.