Thursday, April 21, 2011

Only about 60% of recent college graduates hold jobs that require a college degree

It appears that mal-employment, defined as working at a job that does not require a college degree, is on the rise.
Sum said mal-employment has significantly increased in the past decade, making it the biggest challenge facing college graduates today. In 2000, Sum said, about 75 percent of college graduates held a job that required a college degree. Today that's closer to 60 percent. 
The poor economy is most certainly a reason for this unfortunate situation, but are other factors at play?  Has the the percentage of college graduates qualified to perform professional work decresaed?
The problem is that too often both liberal arts and business degree programs are producing graduates who haven’t learned much of anything during their four, five or six years in college.  The authors of Academically Adrift have joined others in chronicling how "many of the modern-day trends in higher education have lowered the quality of the educational experience".
Some details here:
But even those working full time are often in jobs that don't fit their education, said Northeast University's Andrew Sum. According to his analysis of 2010 data, just 64 percent of those younger than 25 with bachelor's degrees who had found work had professional jobs, and blacks and Hispanic graduates had lower rates still.
Related:  Is college debt worth it?


  1. Even more troubling is the increase in jobs that officially require a college degree that did not require degrees in the past. I suspect a lot of those jobs do not require college level skills. The college degree requirement is just a way of weeding out the truly illiterate

  2. Agreed, that is troubling. And I suspect college degrees don't offer the same guarantee of "literacy" that they used to. We may be ripe for a new credentialing system, especially considering the escalating costs of most college degrees.

  3. Yeah, I have been predicting for years that the masters will become the "new" bachelors.

  4. One of the problems in higher ed is something you also see in healthcare - the customer doesn't pay the bill. In higher ed, the customer in many respects is the ultimate employer of a graduate, not the graduate him or herself. But employers don't pay the bill! I know there are employers who offer tuition benefits, but their number is dwindling. Mainly, the student or the student's parents foot the bill. So employers can make any kinds of ridiculous demands that they want, because they don't have to pay for it. Have you ever noticed how many master's programs are out there at third rate schools in things like "educational technology" or "leadership" or "information management"? Usually, these programs are offered on weekends, and offer lots of credit for "life experience". Why are they there? To provide credentials for employers who insist on a master's, any master's.