Survey shows graduates receive overqualified jobs

By Matt Daray

Almost half have jobs that don’t require degrees

Job prospects may not be abundant for college students who lack the equivalent of a master’s degree.

In a random national survey conducted by Accenture, a management consulting and outsourcing company, results showed 41 percent of 1,000 individuals surveyed who graduated in 2011 and 2012 have jobs that do not require college degrees. In addition, almost two-thirds surveyed said they will need additional training in order to attain their dream job. While students who attained graduate school degrees have better odds at obtaining jobs in their career fields, the number of graduate students is declining.


One potential reason graduates find it hard to get their desired jobs is that they aren’t prepared for specific tasks when they graduate.

Accenture media representative Alex Pachetti said while this survey has been done before, job preparation was the main issue this time around.

“We have surveyed college grads in prior years, but the questions we ask respondents changes according to what’s happening in the market,” he said. “Right now, skills and preparedness for work are a hot topic.”

The survey results showed 77 percent of prospective graduates surveyed expect their jobs to provide formal training. However, less than half received it.

Pachetti said poor job preparation comes from a company’s failure to prepare graduates for their required work skills.

“We believe college graduates have great generalist skills, and it is incumbent upon employers to provide targeted training to develop the more specific skills required to ensure they perform in their jobs,” he said.

Another issue graduates may face is competition from individuals with more advanced degrees.


According to information gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with an associate’s degree had a 6.2 percent unemployment rate, slightly less than the national average. However, individuals with a master’s degree or higher had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent or less.

While information suggests higher degrees can lead to better job opportunities, one expert said graduate school enrollment has declined.

John Koropchak, vice chancellor of research and graduate dean, said graduate school enrollment has seen a minor decline nationally.

“The national trend for graduate enrollment has been roughly 1.5 or 2 percent declines nationwide over the last few years,” he said.

Koropchak said graduate student enrollment has declined because the country’s economy has been in a rough spot for several years. Raised tuition costs, international student decline and graduate students staying in school to expand their resumes have all been factors in the graduate enrollment decline, he said.

Though the odds might be stacked against them, some students believe they still have a shot in the job market.

Shakari Granberry, a freshman from Chicago studying radio-television, said while he is worried about finding a job when he graduates, he thinks his early preparations will help him be ready.

“Before I graduate, I’m going to try and have myself straight already, as far as jobs,” he said. “I’m going to get an internship and basically set myself up while I’m in college so I don’t have to deal with all of that when I get out.”

Michael Andersen, a senior from Villa Park studying mechanical engineering, said his college performance will help him find a job. However, he is concerned because he has to compete with other graduates.

“There’s going to be thousands of fresh graduates looking for jobs in the same place I am, so it’s a little bit intimidating,” he said.

Andersen said he would only consider graduate school if a company helped him pay for it because he cannot afford it at the moment.

Jack Miller, a senior from Belleville studying Spanish, said he has some options available to him but does not know what the future will hold.

“I just got certified to be an English teacher abroad, so I’ve got that going for me,” he said. “But as far as immediately finding something in the (United States), like in St. Louis or the Chicago area, I guess it’s a little bit concerning.”