More than a third of recent college grads with jobs are working in positions that don’t require a degree.
Economists call that figure the “mal-employment” rate, and right now it tops 36% for college-educated workers under the age of 25, according to figures crunched by Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
“People don’t go to college to be a waiter or a bartender,” Sum said. “They lose and we lose.”
The official unemployment rate for grads under age 25 was 7% in May, but that doesn’t reflect all those who are under-utilized in one way or another. Nearly 8% of grads are working part-time, but would like full-time positions. These workers aren’t counted in the mal-employment rate.
Not surprisingly, hospitality and retail are the most common occupations of the mal-employed. Of the nearly 3 million recent college grads, 152,000 are working in retail sales and nearly 100,000 work as waiters, bartenders or in other food service posts. Another 80,000 serve as clerks or customer service representatives, with 60,000 working in construction or manual labor.
Your major matters. Those with degrees in accounting, engineering or computer sciences are much more likely to find college-level work than those who focus on fields like “sports and recreation” or “regional studies,” researchers have found.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor