College Grads Are SO Underemployed


February 5, 2016
Go to college if you like retail sales!

Did you know the one out of four retail salespersons has a college degree? So do almost one out of five telemarketers, one out of six bartenders and one out of seven waiters/waitresses.

Is that because these jobs have gotten so complicated they require a college degree? Not hardly. Rather, it’s because image of unemployed college gradsome 48% of college graduates who are employed are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As noted in this Business Insider article, “the pool of college graduates is growing more than twice as fast as the pool of jobs requiring a college degree.”

What’s more, almost of third of recent college graduates reported earning salaries of less than $25,000 a year. Meantime, their average student debt has risen to close to $40,000. Jobs requiring a college degree are projected to grow at about half the pace of jobs that don’t.

Now consider this: The median annual pay for plumbers was $49,000 as of 2012, according to the BLS. The top 10% earn more than $79,000, and other skilled trades have about the same income potential. About 26% more plumbers will be needed by 2020 than were available in 2012, and many older plumbers are retiring, so even more will be needed to pick up the slack.

You know what, the time may be coming when you’ll really need a college degree to get hired as a retail salesperson, telemarketer or bartender. That’s because if those low-paying employers have so many college graduates to choose from, why should they bother hiring someone without a college degree?

So if your career objective is to work in a clothing store, hawk products over the phone or sling beer and bourbon, by all means rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to obtain a college degree. But if you want a higher paying job that’s in high demand, without student debt burdens, Explore the Trades!