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More Than Half of Recent 4-Year College Grads Underemployed

More Than Half of Recent 4-Year College Grads Underemployed

Inside Higher Ed

Sara Weissman
February 22, 2024
More than half of recent four-year college graduates, 52 percent, are underemployed a year after they graduate, according to a new report from Strada Institute for the Future of Work and the Burning Glass Institute. A decade after graduation, 45 percent of them still don’t hold a job that requires a four-year degree.
Those stark data points were highlighted in a report released today called “Talent Disrupted.” The report outlines employment outcomes for recent bachelor’s degree earners and explores the factors that contribute to their short- and long-term underemployment. It drew on federal data sources, job ads and online résumé and career profiles for more than 60 million workers.
The report defines underemployment as holding a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, signified by at least half of employees in that role not having one.
“Colleges and universities, states and our country can do more and should do more to help students prepare for the critical transition from college to the labor market,” Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Strada Education Foundation, said at a media briefing Tuesday.
The report found that graduates who started their careers at a below-college-level job typically stayed underemployed for years afterward. The majority of graduates, 73 percent, who were underemployed in their first jobs remained so a decade after they graduated.
In contrast, 79 percent of graduates who started off in a college-level job continued to hold jobs at that level five years after graduating. And of the graduates who held college-level jobs five years after graduating, 86 percent had college-level jobs a decade out.

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