CHICAGO, November 14, 2013 – Choosing your college major is a significant life decision, but a new study from CareerBuilder suggests it may not necessarily define your career path. Nearly half (47 percent) of college-educated workers said their first job after college was not related to their college major. Thirty-two percent of college-educated workers reported that they never found a job related to their college major. Among more seasoned workers – those ages 35 and older – that number is 31 percent.
The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from August 13 to September 6, 2013, and included a representative sample of 2,134 workers across industries and company sizes who graduated from college.
“A college education will give you a significant advantage in the job market. In a tough economic climate, college graduates must be flexible and open to taking positions outside their area of study. Taking the knowledge gained in college and branching out with it in unexpected directions is common after graduating,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “In most cases, workers who went into a new field ended up liking the new industry. Odds are you won’t get that dream job right out of school, but it’s important to remember that there are many different paths.”
While finding employment unrelated to a college might seem like a let-down, 64 percent of employees say they’re happy with the degree they chose to achieve, and 61 percent of respondents believe they can still have their dream job.
Graduating in a Difficult Job Market
While thirteen percent of college graduates said the demand for their degree increased between the time they entered college and the time they graduated, 28 percent said the market for their degree got worse and 59 percent said the market for their degree was unchanged. Thirty-six percent of all college-educated workers said they wished they chose a different major.
Graduating into a depressed job market set back job seekers in a number of ways. Of those who said the demand for their degree decreased while they were in school, 33 percent also said they were forced to take a lower paying job outside their field, and 32 percent said the lack of demand meant they couldn’t find work after graduation.
However, 46 percent of respondents who said the demand for their major decreased while they were in college also reported that they were able to find a job in their desired career path within a year, and 58 percent had within two years after graduation.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,134 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) who graduated from college between August 13 and September 6, 2013 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,134, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-2.12 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. For full survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
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