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What Now?

You are going to graduate! Yea!  Congratulations!  You did it!  We are so proud of you!  “So now what?”  This is a question that is asked by hundreds of thousands of college graduates across the country.  The answer may not be what you want to hear.  

“Around 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed,”  according to a report from the University of Washington. 

It says that the average college graduate needs up to half a year to find their first employment. Even with a perfect resume, references, and an established job-seeking strategy, they are unlikely to find work in their field or even one that requires a college degree.

“The unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders in the US is 2.1%,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

For those over the age of 25 who have earned a bachelor’s degree, the unemployment rate stays far below the national average of 3.7% (as of July 2019). 

 “43% of college graduates are underemployed in their first job,” according to  The Wall Street Journal. 

Underemployment is the number that represents the percentage of graduates working in positions that do not require a college degree. If at least half of people working in a specific job have a bachelor’s degree, the position is classified as a college job.

   “Overall, close to half of those who graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree can expect their first job to not require it, college graduates’ job statistics show,” according to The Wall Street Journal. 

College graduates are also earning less.  Median earnings for recent graduates are lower today than they were in 1990.

“Adjusted for inflation, recent college graduates are not earning more than their predecessors did in 1990 or 2000. In fact, they might be earning a bit less. In 1990, the median pay for recent graduates was $44,926. In 2000, the median dropped to $43,749. College graduate employment rate figures list that, today, the median yearly pay for those aged 22 to 27 who have a bachelor’s degree sits at $44,000,” according to Harvard Business Review.  

Interest in occupations related to Arts and Entertainment is increasing, and jobs among recent graduates spiked between 2014 and 2018. 

 “If you are a Graphic Designer, Industrial Engineer, Film and Video Editor, Psychiatric Technician, Marriage and Family Therapist, Art, Drama, and Music Teacher, Writer, Counselor for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders, Photographer or Social Worker there is no issue with the college graduates unemployment rate,”  according to Indeed, a job search website.  

Interest in occupations related to Business and Finance is dropping.  The college graduates unemployment rate has increased in some professions due to a loss of interest in others, according to Indeed.  

“Even though they pay better, jobs related to Business and Finance are not making any top lists these days. What’s more, the interest in jobs that come with a high risk of injury is also dropping,” according to Indeed.

Jobs as a Radiation Therapist, Statistician, Statistical Assistant, Speech Therapist, Economist, Actuary, Sales Person, Nutritionist and Dietitian, Forester, or Nuclear Engineer are on the decline.

Do these statistics worry you?  Cause your heart to skip a beat?  Cause your brow to furrow?  All is not lost.  You did the right thing by going to college and earning that degree.  

“The median pay for college graduates is 74.5% higher than for those with just a high school degree,” according to CNSNEWS. 

When all bachelor’s degree holders are taken into account, college graduates statistics show a median yearly salary of $52,019. For high school graduates, median pay sits at $29,815.