Underemployed? 52% of recent college grads working in fast food, retail

by WorldTribune Staff, March 4, 2024

More than half of college graduates can’t find a job requiring a degree within a year of commencement, a new poll found.

The survey by the nonprofit Strada Institute for the Future of Work and the Burning Glass Institute said that 52% of graduates were “underemployed” in food service, hospitality, retail sales, office administration, and other fields a year after earning a bachelor’s degree.

Ten years after graduation, 45% still didn’t hold a job requiring college-level skills, according to the poll.

The Indianapolis-based Strada Education Foundation said the survey’s findings “show that a college degree is not always a guarantee of labor market success.”

Grads with majors in the liberal arts and humanities struggled the most, but the report also found that biology, physics, psychology, and communications majors also failed to secure related positions.

College degree requirements have been eliminate by many companies in technology, service and office jobs.

In an annual survey of more than 4,000 software, finance, retail and other hiring managers that HireVue published last March, 16% said they had dropped all college requirements. Another 48% reported adopting a “skills-first” approach to hiring.

A survey of 800 companies that Intelligent.com released in November found that 45% intended to eliminate four-year degree requirements for some positions this year.

Also in November, PublicSquare and Idaho-based workforce recruiter RedBalloon reported that 67% of 905 small-business owners they surveyed said four-year college graduates lacked “relevant skills that today’s business community needs.”

The report found that computer science, health care, finance, accounting, data analytics, and engineering graduates were likelier to find positions in their fields than other science, technology, engineering and math majors.

The survey said 74% of engineering graduates held college-level jobs five years after graduating, compared with 53% of biology majors.

The study analyzed federal statistics, job postings and online resumes of more than 60 million U.S. workers.

Your Choice

Quality Resource for Citizen Journalists