Saturday, September 6, 2014

Washington Post: Why Sally can’t get a good job with her college degree

Welcome back to classes! As you navigate your way through the fall semester (or quarter), focus on your academic and professional goals.

This article in the Washington Post examines the realities of college graduates who cannot find work in their field, particularly women who make up 60 percent of all college graduates in the U.S.

Poor Sally. She has spent tens of thousands of dollars and four long years to get her college degree and has $26,000 in student loans to pay off, yet she can’t find a job that puts her degree to good use. Sally and her parents may be asking whether college was “worth it.”

Sally epitomizes many of her fellow college graduates who wonder why college graduates can’t find good jobs.

The experts give all sorts of explanations for Sally’s plight.

One of the most perplexing and frustrating explanations is that Sally is over-educated....

This analysis leads to a final reason why Sally can’t get a good job with her college degree.

She has the wrong degree.

Students with traditional liberal arts degrees frequently find themselves underemployed, while students with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have little trouble finding good jobs in their profession. Nine out of the top 10 least underemployed majors are in STEM (law is the exception).

Women, however, aren’t studying STEM. Biology is the only STEM degree among the top 10 most popular bachelor’s degrees for women, and it comes in slightly above English language and literature as a preferred degree. Moreover, women aren’t making up for this gap by studying science and technology in graduate school — not a single STEM subject makes it among the top 10 master’s degrees for women.

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