The value of a college education continues to be reexamined in the real world. In addition to being saddled with student loans, graduates and even experienced workers face a lackluster labor market. While a degree is still considered an advantage, the right major can make all the difference between happily employed and woefully underemployed in today’s job market.
Some majors are clearly failing. Millions of Americans are underemployed, according to a new report from PayScale. The information firm finds 46% of workers across all age groups believe they are underemployed. The feeling is shared among both male (43%) and female (49%) workers.
The meaning of underemployment can vary by person. PayScale defines underemployed as having part-time work but wanting to work full-time, or holding a job that doesn’t require or utilize your education, experience, or training.
Not using their education and training is the primary reason why respondents consider themselves underemployed. In the survey, 79% of men and 72% of women say they are underemployed because of their education and training going to waste. The report elaborates:
People who can’t find full time work in the field they studied often end up taking part time work, or working in jobs unrelated to their field of study. The danger of underemployment is that if you’re not using the skills you learned and want to develop, those skills will atrophy, leaving you less able to compete for the jobs you actually want.
Additionally, underemployed workers begin to disengage from their jobs, resulting in sub-par performance, further damaging future job prospects.
In general, you’re more likely to feel underemployed if you’ve achieved a lower level of education — no higher than an associate’s degree, GE, or high school diploma. However, that doesn’t mean a bachelor’s degree is your ticket to employment bliss. Let’s look at the 15 worst college majors for today’s job market, based on underemployed findings from PayScale.