Why a Bachelor’s Degree Is No Guarantee of a Job

From Catherine Galecki:

For as long as I have been in school, I can remember one phrase that was repeated over and over again: Go to college and you can get a real job. However, unemployment rates have reached new heights. Now most college graduates are having issues finding jobs – and not just the students who majored in subjects with no career path attached.

Many college graduates are under-employedA recent article in the Global Post reports that half of the people with bachelor’s degrees are unemployed or underemployed. After reading this article, my only question was…how?

Unemployment is a widespread problem, but it is by no means fifty percent. Underemployment has to be the source of such a high ratio of unemployed and underemployed people. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers enough data to establish that underemployment is indeed the problem.

The Fastest Growing Occupations

Jobs with the highest percent change of employment and can be separated into three categories.

  • No degree required: Helping jobs such as personal aids, brick layers, tile layers, plumbers, and pipe layers.
  •  Very specific degree required: Vet Techs, Registered Nurses, and Physical Therapists are among the top 20.
  • Incoming fields of study: A Biomedical Engineer is the third fastest growing occupation.

The Jobs with the Highest Numeric change in Employment

With a couple of exceptions, almost all of these jobs require no degree and are in the service sector. These can also be split up into several categories.

  • Degree Required: Secondary Teachers, elementary teachers, registered nurses, and accountants.
  • Service Sector: Office clerks, nursing aides, attendants, orderlies, combined food preparation and serving workers, retail, and cashiers.
  • Laborers: Construction workers, landscapers, movers, and tractor trailer drivers.

Since the largest number of jobs available do not require college degrees, it makes perfect sense that those holding bachelor’s degrees can be underemployed. They take jobs for which they are over-skilled simply to try and pay the bills.

As a recent college graduate, I am no exception. As well as writing for Handshake Media, I also have a part-time job as an office clerk and receptionist. These small, part-time jobs are very useful for helping recent graduates land on their feet until they can aim towards a different goal.

Catherine Galecki is a recent graduate from Virginia Tech in biology.  Read more from Catherine Galecki on Handshake 2.0.

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  1. Excellent post by someone who “feels the pain.” I’ve seen the pain in students for over 30 years and so developed a web page to help … http://ruralsystemguide.com/Essentials/Jobs.html
    and it can do so when used early during beginning studies as well as when nearing graduation. That file is not up-to-date but much is believed to be of help,(especially the notes at the end of the list of job sources.) (I’ll make suggested changes as they are reported.) Rural System (www.RuralSystem.com)staff explore alternative wild fauna and related potential jobs.

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