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College graduates underutilized in current job market


Thursday, January 31, 2013

In recent years, young people have been told that a college degree will give them an advantage in the job market. However, according to a new report, in today's uncertain economic climate many college graduates find themselves working in jobs for which they are overqualified.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), a nonprofit, non-partisan research organization, recently published a report examining the realities of the labor market and the state of education in the U.S. Richard Vedder, director of CCAP, and his associates, concluded that almost half of college graduates are currently working in jobs that traditionally have not required workers to possess an undergraduate qualification. Approximately 37 percent of college graduates hold jobs that require no more than a high school diploma.

The number of overqualified individuals working jobs that have typically been held by workers with less education has grown in recent years. In 1970, less than 1 percent of taxi drivers and 2 percent of firefighters possessed college degrees. Today, more than 15 percent of individuals holding these positions have bachelor's degrees.

Researchers at CCAP speculate that greater numbers of college graduates and increasingly scarce job vacancies have contributed to the rise in overqualified workers taking jobs that are beneath their level of education. However, despite the challenges faced by many graduates today, there are certain majors in which graduates have secured appropriate jobs with prospects of career and salary growth. Among these are engineering and economics graduates.

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