SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

May 7, 2013

Grads degrees, iffy path

Jobs & the economy

Young grads find degrees don’t launch career path

By Patricia Reaney REUTERS

NEW YORK — More than 40 percent of recent U.S. college graduates are underemployed or need more training to get onto a career track, a new poll shows.

The online survey of 1,050 workers who finished school in the past two years and 1,010 who will receive their degree in 2013 also found that many graduates — some heavily in debt because of the cost of their education — say they are in jobs that do not require a college degree.

  • Thirty-four percent said they have student loans of $30,000 or less, while 17 percent owe between $30,000 and $50,000.

“For our nation’s youngest workers — as well as for the work force at large — there is a real need for employers to re-examine how they hire, train and develop their employees,” said Katherine Lavelle of the global management-consulting firm Accenture , which conducted the survey.

Forty-two percent of recent graduates expect that they will need an advanced degree to further their career, and almost a quarter already plan to take graduate courses.

More than half of graduates said it was difficult finding a job, but 39 percent were employed by the time they left college. Sixty eight percent said they are working full time, while 16 percent are in part-time positions.

The top industries that graduates wanted to work in were education, media and entertainment, and health care.

Just over half of graduates — 53 percent — found full-time jobs in their field of study.

In addition to being underemployed, many graduates think they would have done better in the job market if they had studied a different major, and more than half intend to go back to school within five years.

The survey uncovered a gap between what students expect to earn in their first job and their actual pay. Only 15 percent of this year’s graduates think they will earn less than $25,000, but a third of recent graduates said they make that amount or less.

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