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New College Grad Takes Job They Don't Want Every 5 Minutes: Study

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Every five minutes, a 2012 college graduate starts a job for which he or she is overqualified.

That's one finding of a recent report by McKinsey On Society, an online publishing forum for the consulting firm's research on pressing social issues. The study, which focused on underemployment among recent college graduates, found about 120,000 of people who last year obtained bachelor's degrees took jobs in sectors other than those which they most preferred.

Very often, that means getting a job in retail or restaurant work, two sectors in which four to five times more graduates are working than would prefer to, the report found.

College graduates across the country are grappling with widespread underemployment, prompting some experts to wonder whether incurring the cost that comes with a college degree is worth the benefits. Today, nearly half of recent college graduates say they’re working jobs that don’t require their degree, the report found.

Even students who chose majors traditionally associated with a solid career path can suffer from underemployment. Indeed, business majors are most likely to work in jobs that don’t require their degrees, according to a recent study from PayScale, a salary information company.

The decision of whether to attend college is even more difficult once you consider student loan debt. For students graduating in the class of 2011 with college debt, their average student loan balance is equivalent to about 60 percent of their income, according to a recent report from Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

Though the outlook may seem dim for recent college graduates, their prospects of finding a job are better than their high school counterparts with only a high school diploma. The jobless rate for college graduates over the age of 25 was 3.8 percent in May, according to Labor Department data cited by The New York Times. For those with only a high school diploma: 11.1 percent.

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