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.
Some majors are clearly failing in today’s job market. As many as 22 million Americans are underemployed, according to a new report from PayScale. The information firm polled 68,000 workers and found that 43 percent of total respondents across all age groups believe they are underemployed. The meaning of underemployment can vary by person, but generally includes holding a job that leaves you overeducated, underpaid, or not able to make ends meet.
Being underpaid was the primary reason respondents considered themselves underemployed. In the survey, 48 percent of women said they are underemployed, compared to 39 percent of men. The difference is not surprising, given that nine of the 10 most underemployed college majors are dominated by women. Overall, millennials are most likely to say they are underemployed.
“Our economy is still recovering from The Great Recession, and while some industries are booming, demand for work still outpaces supply for many job types and industries,” explains the report. “People who can’t find full time work in the field they went to school for often end up taking part time work, or working in jobs unrelated to their field of study. Yet at the same time, many employers report that they can’t find people to fill the jobs they do have available.”
Let’s take a look at the 10 worst college majors for today’s job market, based on underemployed findings from PayScale.
Ranking Degree Median Annual Pay Underemployment Level
10 Psychology $38,200 50%
9 Education $40,500 50%
8 Liberal Arts $34,200 50%
7 Graphic Design $37,300 52%
6 English & Literature $39,700 52%
5 Sociology $38,900 53%
4 General Studies $32,100 56%
3 Health Care Admin $32,100 58%
2 Business Mgmt & Admin $44,300 60%
1 Criminal Justice $34,500 62%