Survey: One-Third of Workers Don’t Work in Jobs Related to College Major

Chicago — Nov. 14

Choosing a college major is a significant life decision, but a new study from CareerBuilder suggests it may not necessarily define a career path.

Nearly half (47 percent) of college-educated workers said their first job after college was not related to their major. Thirty-two percent of college-educated workers reported that they never found a job related to their college major. Among those ages 35 and older, that number is 31 percent.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive from Aug. 13 to Sept. 6. It included a sample of 2,134 workers across industries and company sizes who graduated from college.

While finding employment unrelated to a college major might seem like a letdown, 64 percent of employees said they’re happy with the degree they chose to achieve, and 61 percent of respondents said they can still have their dream job.

While 13 percent of college graduates said the demand for their degree increased between the time they entered college and the time they graduated, 28 percent said the market for their degree got worse and 59 percent said the market for their degree was unchanged, according to the survey. Thirty-six percent of all college-educated workers said they wished they chose a different major.

Graduating into a depressed job market set back job seekers in a number of ways. Of those who said the demand for their degree decreased while they were in school, 33 percent also said they were forced to take a lower-paying job outside their field, and 32 percent said the lack of demand meant they couldn’t find work after graduation.

However, 46 percent of respondents who said the demand for their major decreased while they were in college also reported that they were able to find a job in their desired career path within a year, the survey said, and 58 percent had within two years after graduation.

Source: CareerBuilder