Employment Rates and Average Salaries Down for New College Grads

A trend that many have suspected to be on the rise – including college graduates – has been confirmed in a recent survey regarding employment rates among young people. An online survey from conducted between July 2011 and July 2012, showed that 63 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 have a bachelor’s degree, however, are often forced to take jobs that don’t require one.
The survey included input from nearly 500,000 young workers, and only further suggested that a four-year college degree doesn’t mean as much as it used to when it comes to securing a job.
As reported by MarketWatch, a similar survey conducted by Rutgers University saw similar conclusions. They found that nearly half of young people who have graduated in the last five years say their jobs don’t require a four-year degree, and only 20 percent said their first job was actually in their desired career field.
Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science and public policy at Rutgers, told MarketWatch that these findings paint a grim picture of employment for recent college grads, saying, “Our society’s most talented people are unable to find a job that gives them a decent income.”
The problem? Many of the jobs that once went to young college grads are now going to older adults, and experts suspect many explanations for why this could be. One reason, however, is that employers view older workers as safer hires who are more likely to stick around for the long haul.
Proof of this comes from Dean Baker, co-director of a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C., who says that workers over the age of 55 have accounted for 58 percent of recent employment growth. Furthermore, the Department of Labor found that unemployment rates for workers age 55 and above were 6.2 percent in July, and were 12.7 percent for those ages 18 to 29.
College grads are doing what anyone would do in difficult times: make it work some other way. Today’s college graduates are often seeking employment in other places, meaning lower-paying jobs that aren’t in their field. PayScale economist Katie Bardaro reported that the starting salary for a graduate is now $27,000, which is down 10 percent since 2007.
As a result of low employment rates and less-than-desirable salaries, experts fear that younger generations may began to feel trapped no matter what route they take, seeing as a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job anymore. While education still holds incredible lifelong value, a four-year degree may be a harder sell for generations to come.
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