The Underemployment Problem for New College Graduates

Parents of college seniors: they are almost done. Whether they sailed through college doing welland thoroughly enjoying school, or they really struggled and are graduating with a less than stellar GPA,here is the thing – they are graduating from college.  This is in fact an important achievement and cause for celebration – for them and often for the whole family. Sometimes it takes the whole family to get this result 😊.

The Facts About Landing a Job After Graduation

But there are some very sobering statistics out there telling us that only about 25% of college students have a job at graduation.  For the other 75%, another 25% will have a job within 60 days of graduation. These are the students who are working on this transition now but haven’t landed anything yet.  For the rest of the graduates, and particularly those that haven’t even gotten started yet, when they graduate without a job or even a plan for getting a job, it can take up to six months for them to find their first professional role.  

Underemployment is Alarmingly High

It is another statistics that keep us up at night these days.  According to a study conducted by Strada Institute and Burning Glass Technologies in 2018, 43% of new graduates are underemployed – meaning that they didn’t need a college degree to get the job.  That is a big number. But a deeper cut at the data presents an even more problematic long-range outlook.

In that 43% of underemployed college graduates, over 2/3rds of them will still be in a job that did not require a college degree in five years.  And half of that original 43% will continue to be underemployed after 10 years. In other words where you start honestly does matter. It isn’t necessarily a life sentence but it certain is not what your student or you were thinking as you shipped them off to college as freshmen.  

College students take jobs they are overqualified for, for a variety of reasons, but from our experience the two most prevalent reasons are

  1.  They give up finding a college-worthy job because they are beaten down by the job search process; and/or,
  2. They are under enormous financial pressure because of student loans and have to bring in money to begin paying their loans back.  

At LaunchingU we work very hard with our clients to make sure that they meet the work of transitioning from college into their career with focus and confidence.  We know from years of experience that our clients crush this timeline and start their careers in college worthy jobs. We would love to talk with you about your student and help them move into careers successfully.  Please feel free to connect with us via phone at 603-398-7278 or email at for a free consultation.