According to a recent survey, 44 percent of young college graduates are on the wrong career path. Since youth are the main demographic group hit hardest by the rising unemployment rate, these are some pretty serious numbers. When you consider that 12.6 percent of all employable young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are either underemployed or unemployed, it’s no wonder surveys – and parents — are concerned with the career paths young graduates take.
While unemployed simply refers to not having a job, underemployed refers to those who take any job they can get to pay the bills. Why is this a bad thing, you may be wondering. The reason it’s a concern is because more and more young people with college degrees are unable to find work in their chosen field. A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York saw 44 percent of America’s young college graduates underemployed. Not only are they burdened with $40,000 of education debt, they end up working at their local coffee shop, overqualified and barely earning enough money to live.
In the face of tough economic times and rising college fees, how then, does one go about not becoming an unemployed or underemployed statistic? A large part of the solution is to choose your college major carefully. The right or wrong choice can either set you up for a lifetime of career success or be cause for you to sink into debt without many choices on how to get out.
For example, recent government studies show the worst-paying college majors include social work, family and child studies, recreation and leisure studies, athletic training, elementary education, culinary arts and special education.
Katie Bardaro, lead economist at compensation research firm PayScale explains, “Unless you go to a top-20 brand name school, what matters most to employers is your major.” A startling finding by Gen-Y researcher Millennial Branding found that 69 percent of hiring managers look for graduates with relevant coursework when they consider hiring. For students, this could mean stepping into a well-paying job right out of school.
There are about 120 college majors offered throughout various colleges around the United States. Of these majors, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) set out to determine the most valuable. These majors were ranked by things such as their starting pay, growth in salary and job opportunities.
Job projections show that biomedical engineering is the major most worth your time, effort and money. The BLS projected a 61.7 percent increase in job growth for this field by 2020. Engineering concentrations such as software engineering, environmental engineering, civil engineering and petroleum engineering were also seen to offer great starting pay rates with high job growth.
Now, Bardaro does admit, “these aren’t majors that anyone could do. They’re hard, and these programs weed people out. However, there is high demand for them and a low supply of people with the skills, so it drives up the labor market price.” What better place to start in life than with a great salary and a high demand for your skills!
Author: Divya Parekh (ACC, CPC, LL, MS) is an international career leadership coach, Head Career Coach at International Coach Academy, and CEO of The DP Group. She assists executives, professionals, coaches and students plan, develop and achieve their career and leadership goals. She has been recognized by Worldwide Who’s Who as ‘VIP of the Year’ for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in leadership coaching. She is founder of the 1/1/1 Leader Project. The project prides itself on being simple. Set a goal. Work towards achieving it. Give someone a smile. Be nice to another person. Make the world a little bit nicer. It’s free so get started today!
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