The Most Underemployed College Majors – Forbes

8 Dec

Kathryn Dill


The workforce, the workplace, and the future of both.

Yesterday, Forbes reported on the jobs in which the most Americans feel underemployed, a term compensation comparison site PayScale defines as “having part-time work but wanting full-time work, or holding a job that doesn’t require or utilize a person’s education, experience or training.”

But what are the country’s underemployed workers most likely to have studied?

The majors that appear on this list reflect those most likely to have been pursued by professionals reporting the highest levels of underemployment, determined by the percentage of respondents in a particular job who responded “Yes” or “I’m not sure” when asked by PayScale, “Do you consider yourself underemployed?” Percentages of underemployment were determined by the number of respondents who stated, ”I am not working in a job that uses my education or training” and “I am working part-time but want full-time work.”

Only responses from workers holding an associate’s degree or above were included in these percentages.

This methodology reflects a change from previous PayScale releases on the subject of underemployment, which also took into account whether workers felt underpaid. “We found,” said PayScale, in a statement, “that most respondents who believed they were underpaid were in fact paid well within the normal range.”

At the top of the list are professionals who were General Science majors. Forty-nine percent of these workers feel underemployed, with 18% working part-time but desiring full-time work, and 82% reporting that they are working in a field that does not utilize their education or training. Median early-career pay for employees with General Science degrees is $37,300, mid-career median pay is $63,000.

Next up are Radio/Television & Film Production majors, coming in just behind General Science majors with 48% feeling underemployed. Twenty-seven percent of these workers desire full-time employment, and 73% say they are not using their education or training in their work, for which the early-career median pay is $39,500, increasing to $65,000 by mid-career.

Health Sciences, Exercise Science, and Health Care Managementmajors also make the list, each with around 47% underemployment. Between 80 and 90% of workers with these majors feel their education and training is going unused in their current work. Among them, those with Exercise Science degrees feel the greatest lack of full-time employment, with 31% reporting they are working part-time but wish to be working full.

Theater Arts and Art majors make the top 10, as do Social Science and Human Development & Family Studies majors. Criminal Justice majors, in 8th place, claim the highest occurrence of working in jobs that do not use their education or training, with 88% of those who felt underemployed reporting that as a contributing factor.

10 Jobs In High Demand That Require A College Degree


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