The plight and struggles of college and university students are often trivialized and sometimes appropriately so.
“Oh no, looks like I’m having ramen for dinner again.”
“Good grades, healthy sleep schedule, social life: pick two.”
“To get a job I need experience, but I need a job to gain experience.”
Take a pause on that last one.
A recent study published by OneClass revealed that over half of all university and college graduates are not working in a field that they received a degree for. The study interviewed 300 people and concluded that 57.5 per cent of graduates surveyed had a job that was not directly related to their degree. The study also reports that about a quarter of graduates think college or university was a mistake.
The biggest shock of this study is the dramatic increase in transdisciplinary graduates. OneClass cites a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2013. It’s unlikely that in that five-year span the job market has taken an unprecedented shift in hiring practices but it bring up to light an interesting question. How attached to your field of study are you? If you’re a science major and you end up writing tech reviews due to your qualifications, is that still a win?
Do not take this as a sign to call convocation quits. It’s not clear if this study is a direct contradiction to the dominant narrative saying that people need a university degree to graduate as institutions do not release if graduates are working in a field where they do not need a degree. It’s likely that people who graduate with a degree are still likely to fill a position due to their degree, even if the new job is in a different field.
The study went on to cite a piece released by Emolument breaking down how valuable people self-reported their degrees were. The scope of this study was far larger, encompassing 1,800 graduates. While this study was done in the United Kingdom, it shows some shocking results. The highest “worth it” rate comes from chemistry students with 87 per cent saying they valued their degree, while the bottom rung is comprised of psychology grads, two-thirds of which say their degree was not worth it.
With our economy becoming increasingly decentralized perhaps it’s necessary for graduates to have the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Surely a potential employer would think that having the cognitive ability to switch your specialized skill set into a related field can be a useful tool while you’re actually working.