Every five minutes, a recent college graduate settles for an unwanted job for which he or she is overqualified.
That figure is just one finding in a recent report conducted by McKinsey On Society, a consulting firm that specializes in research on contemporary social issues. The focus of the study was unemployment and underemployment among recent college graduates; researchers determined that nearly 120,000 of those who earned a bachelor’s degree last year ended up settling for jobs in areas outside the ones they preferred.
Most commonly this meant taking a retail job or going to work in a restaurant, two sectors where 4 to 5 times more college grads are now working than would prefer to, according to the report.
College graduates from every state in the U.S. are now struggling with extensive underemployment, which has led some experts to question whether subjecting oneself to the costs of a college degree is worth it. Today, almost half of recent college graduates report that they’re working at jobs which do not even require that degree.
In fact, even students who earned degrees in majors conventionally associated with a stead career are now feeling the effects of underemployment. As it turns out, business majors are the most likely to end up in jobs where their degrees are not even a requirement, according to studies recently conducted by the firm PayScale.
Deciding if college is the right fit for you can become even more difficult when one factors in student loan debt. Those who graduated in 2011 found that their average student loan balance was equivalent to nearly 60 percent of their income, according to a report published by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.
Yet even if the present job-hunting situation may seem gloomy for recent college graduates, their outlook is significantly better than job applicants with only a high school diploma. The unemployment rate for college graduates over the age of 25 was 3.8% in May, according to Labor Department. For those who have only a high school diploma, that number jumped to over 11%.