Nearly Half of Recent College Grads Considered "Underemployed"

2 years 5 months 4 weeks ago January 23, 2014 Jan 23, 2014 Thursday, January 23 2014 Thursday, January 23, 2014 7:04:00 PM CST in Poverty
By: Emily Spain, KOMU 8 Anchor

COLUMBIA - It's a statistic that might shock you, or dismay you if you're in college right now. Nearly half of recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree, according to a 2013 study released by the Center of College Affordability and Productivity. Analysts call this being "underemployed," meaning people are overqualified for the jobs they are working.

60-year-old George Appleman finds himself in that group. After serving in the Vietnam war and clocking more than 20 years in the Navy, he decided on a new mission - getting a college degree.

"I grew up in a generation where a college education was the golden ticket, if you will, to
success," Appleman said. "I had great aspirations to being the great history teacher."

So, in 1999, Appleman decided to take night classes after work at Columbia College.

"Makes for long days, very long days," he said.

He graduated with a degree in history and a minor in political science in 2005, then started his job search.

"I looked around the areas and there just weren't many social studies teachers openings
in the local area," Appleman said.

He looked for months and resorted to help from temp agencies that helped place him at American Air Filters in Columbia where he works the assembly line.

"I don't need the education I have to be able to do the job I'm doing. But I appreciate
that I have a job these days," he said.

Appleman is not the only person in this situation. It comes down to a simple issue of supply and demand. The supply of people, like Appleman, with a college degree is greater than the employers' demands for such qualifications.

Appleman said an HR employee with Columbia Public Schools, who spoke in one of his classes, told them history teachers are a dime in a dozen.

"It deflated the idea of being a history teacher," Appleman said.

In the Center of College Affordability and Productivity's study on "underemployment," it said the number of people working in jobs for which they are overeducated has increased since the 1970s. For example, in 1970, less than one percent of taxi drivers had college degrees, while now more than 15 percent do. The study said that trend will continue.

The projected future growth in both college enrollments and graduates is much larger than the actual or projected growth in jobs that need a college degree, meaning more and more people will find themselves underemployed.

Ben Falby works at Job Point in Columbia as a business consultant and he said he's seen this problem first hand.

"I can name, and won't, folks doing unskilled labor that definitely have full bachelors. Workers that have 20 years of work history and they're needing to support their kids and when push comes to shove, they just gotta find a way to do it," Falby said.

So, is getting a college degree still worth the time and money? A Georgetown University study says, yes. College grads still fare better financially than those who are less educated. Falby said he agrees. He said though, the key to avoiding "underemployment" as a college grad is choosing a marketable major.

"Everybody's having to think about what kind of skill sets they're having to bring to this
labor market to be valuable. Things are changing so fast," he said

Appleman has this advice.

"Choose your major wisely. Look and see what is becoming the hot item to be getting a degree in and don't give up," he said.

He said he hasn't given up yet, "I plan on working until the day I drop," he said.

The Georgetown study also found nursing and elementary education grads have the lowest unemployment rates, while architecture and information systems have the highest.

Photo credit: Flickr/Bill Selak

More News

Grid
List
HARRISONVILLE (AP) — A western Missouri man has been found not guilty in a 2014 fatal shooting at a Cass... More >>
7 minutes ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:25:37 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A member of the Clay family has represented St. Louis and northern suburbs in Congress for... More >>
2 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:38:26 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Republican candidates in Missouri's gubernatorial primary are pledging an aggressive law-and-order approach, two years after the... More >>
3 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:03:16 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Road closings this summer in downtown Columbia could make it harder to enjoy local shops and restaurants in... More >>
9 hours ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:43:00 AM CDT in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS — One person was injured after a boat caught on fire at the 38-mile marker by... More >>
15 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:10:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has received a $1 million gift, the largest in its... More >>
20 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 5:07:03 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 51-year-old man is accused of pulling over a vehicle and acting as if he were... More >>
20 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:46:46 PM CDT in News
COOPER COUNTY — A man has been charged in relation to a hostage standoff east of Boonville Friday morning. ... More >>
21 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:15:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced the members of the Advisory Committee for the Director of Athletics search... More >>
21 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:01:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA — With the extreme heat this weekend, local medical experts told people to be aware of the signs of... More >>
21 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 3:53:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Out-of-towners from across the state are boosting sales for local businesses and restaurants downtown this weekend. The... More >>
22 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 3:13:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Knights of Columbus hosted a barbecue fundraiser for the country's first Special Olympics training... More >>
23 hours ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 1:54:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Athletes, parents, and officials across Columbia tried to beat the heat while participating in the Show Me State... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 1:21:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral for a Kansas City, Kansas, police captain shot... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 12:10:16 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out a woman's lawsuit against Home Depot over the deaths of... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:38:15 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri , man is accused of spitting in a police officer's eye and... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:29:44 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A group of young athletes braved the high heat this morning doing more than most people do before... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:36:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Roy Blunt has served in Congress for two decades, but as he seeks re-election to the... More >>
1 day ago July 23, 2016 Jul 23, 2016 Saturday, July 23 2016 Saturday, July 23, 2016 9:39:32 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 93°
2pm 94°
3pm 94°
4pm 94°
5pm 94°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:00p
2016 Tour de France
2:00p
Celebrity Golf
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
1:00p
Rules of Engagement
1:30p
Rules of Engagement
2:00p
Rookie Blue

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Hollywood Game Night
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
7:00p
Bulletproof Heart
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Cougar Town