The “Careers” of College Graduates

In an update, of sorts, to the recent post about the influence of the Recession on current college graduates, Ezra Klein over at the Washington Post is letting us know that it’s actually even worse. Two charts explain it:

Leaving aside the salaries (not so surprising that engineering majors make more than education or humanities majors) it’s importantly to look pretty seriously at those light green bars. That represents people who went to college and are now employed in jobs that don’t require them to have gone to college. That’s 22 percent of employed people under age 25. They’re earning less than $16,000 a year on average. That’s depressing. Those are people who have jobs. There are a lot of college graduates out there who don’t have jobs and are not included in this chart.

As Klein puts it:

The implication is clear: If you’re going to college to get a job after college, you’re better off in a major that lends itself to an obvious job after college. Engineering, say, or teaching. A humanities or communications degree turns out to be a much tougher sell.

That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t major in the humanities, of course, but it’s important to be realistic about these things as the recession continues.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer