The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.
A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.
Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.
An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees.
Opportunities for college graduates vary widely.
While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.
We know a wonderful young man about to graduate from a major state university. He’s fortunate enough, however, to be leaving school debt-free thanks to a ROTC scholarship. And oh, he’s guaranteed a job as a newly-minted 2nd Lieutenant in the Army with an in-demand BS.
He didn’t vote for Obama, either. Go figure, eh? The kids willing to work for what they want–rather than taking the liberal bait that they’re owed something–are the ones who will emerge successful and debt-free. If only we could all be so savvy.
More from the article:
Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.
“I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.
Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.
Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. “There is not much out there, it seems,” he said.
Emphasis my own. What a shame no one told Bledsoe that the practical worth of his major amounted to next to nothing. He is pictured with a nose ring and giant gauges in his ears. Call me old-fashioned, but I wonder how his appearance plays into his inability to garner more than a minimum wage job. (Hint: remove the jewelry, dude!) Further, he asked his parents for money to pay his loans rather than trying to find another low-paying job. No wonder it sounds like a great idea to stack up more debt! Go get that MFA!