Can College Get You Job? Research Report

The last decade was stormy for United States. Two wars, end of industrial revolution, housing market crash and soaring fuel price mirthlessly tried to put its economy to sleep. Globalization was coming to life.

Wealthy grew wealthier, but the middle class suffered. Unemployment rate skyrocketed. It is now believed that the the economy is recovering from recession and new jobs are being created. Americans who lost jobs due to the recession are reentering the workforce. But are they managing to get positions relevant to their education or majors?

Current trend shows that there is a high unemployment rate among new college graduates. Does this mean higher education no more has any value? One government employee reported to us that high school students see very little hope in college now. They don't trust the future. But is hope truly lost? We recently did a research to know whether Americans are truly doing jobs irrelevant to their majors. It was for actually for a class. The collected data turned out to be quite a surprise.

Making and Releasing of the Survey

The research was done through survey. Our pick was structured questionnaire. We designed 19 closed format questions focused on level of education and jobs related to it. Most of the responses were chosen from current trends. That said, we assumed experiences differed individual to individual because of differences in age, years of graduation, skills and fields of professions. Consequently, prior to the main questions in the survey, participants were asked to mark their age group from our given list. The second thing we did was to allow participants to go with the option of “other” and provided them a box where they could write down their response in brief.  No attempt was made to design personal questions to help us or readers identify the participants individually.  Attention was given to easing their ability to provide responses correctly. The core questions pertaining to the study were:
1. State your highest education level.
2. Area or discipline of your degree/education?
3. Before declaring a major, did you conduct any research pertaining to jobs related to its field?
4. What is your current employment status?
 5. Your current occupation is in what field?
6. Which type of organization do you work for?
7. Is your current job position relevant to your educational background?
8. What level of education is required for your current position?
9. How many years of experience do you have in your current field?
10. State any reason(s) that may have caused obstacles for you in obtaining a job relevant to your education/major.

The situations of the participants connected to this study were dependent mainly on questions number 7 and 10.  While question number 7 asked participants to answer in yes or no form, the latter gave them choices; these included:  competition, outsourcing, lack of experience, inability to relocate and ‘other,’ with a box for participants to write their own answers.  However, without knowing what they studied and whether or not they researched on jobs relevant to their majors, there was no way to come up with a reasonable conclusion. That is why, we included questions related to them in our survey. With that being said, to lessen the error in reasoning, we planned to separate the population from those who acquired jobs through fraternity and academic clubs. To make it possible, we included a question that asked if any of the participants had been such a member. It was followed by the question of whether the membership helped them gain the jobs through the network.

200 participants took part in this survey from all over US. Approximately 17 percent of male participants went to college, but did not acquire a degree. The remaining 83 percent obtained an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Findings (Data Analyzed Using SPSS)

1. 57.5 percent stated that the primary reasons for pursuing higher education were for an improved quality of life and better job opportunities.

2. Prior to declaring a field of study, 60 percent of individuals stated they conducted research on jobs related to their area of interest. We were interested in knowing if this was helpful. According to survey result, 63 percent of those who researched had successfully acquired major related jobs.  This satisfied the theory that being vigilant about what major to choose does yield to a good result.

3.As stated earlier, the US economy is on the verge of recovery. Despite this, businesses are constantly doing all they can to lower production and service costs.  It is believed that one tactic they use is hiring experienced workers because this way they can avoid spending on training.  This enables the experienced older generation to get jobs while the young ones keep knocking every door.  Once patience is lost, they say yes to jobs that do not match their education background. For this research, participants were asked to pick an age range from the questionnaire as well as respond with yes or no to the question of whether their jobs were relevant to what they studied in school. When analyzed using the contingency table, the data revealed that 50 percent of all those who fell within the age range of 25 to 34 years did not have a job relevant to their education. Apparently, this group had full-time jobs in other fields and earned a monthly salary of $2,000 to $4,500.  But can experience be held responsible for their irrelevant jobs?  Data analysis revealed that the participants who had less than 5 years of experience in their fields took an outside job. But this is not the only issue the group struggled with. In fact, they rated outsourcing and competition as some of the other reasons that formed barriers to entry to jobs relevant to their education.

4. The reasons behind barriers to entry varied person to person in the survey.  The most rated response in it was “other”. Using it, the participants wrote down their own unique reasons such as:
  • Graduating with a major that never had a proper job in US
  • Extremely low salary for entry level job related to the major
  • Some employers requiring both education and experience, and if an individual has 15+ years of experience, but lacks the educational component, an employer feels compelled to take a chance with a newly graduated student
  • Shutting down a government related industry and its jobs are no more available anywhere
5. Gender wise, women struggled the most in the job market. According to our survey result, women were 12 percent more likely than men in saying yes to jobs that did not match their education level. Majority of the female participants also stated that they did not do any research on jobs related to the majors they wanted to declare in college. Their monthly salary was either $4,000 or less

6.The issue of irrelevancy in jobs does not apply to majors of all areas. Data analysis revealed that 75 percent of participants who came from arts and science with the exception for Information Technology were more successful than graduates of business in getting a relevant job. Among the participants, 76 percent of them worked in professional and management fields. However, the monthly salary correlated with them was less than $4000. The worst hit was those who were in education.

7.Based on this study, the pursuit of higher education is one of significant importance. The analysis revealed that 57 percent of those who had bachelor degree were able to get relevant jobs.

8. Associate’s degree was another one with high success rate. 21 percent of those who acquired it did have relevant jobs. The struggle was at its highest peak for those who possessed a Master’s degree and no degree.

9. Among fraternity, sorority and academic club members, only 1 percent got a job relevant to their education. This shows that probably they are not so useful for careers anymore.

10. Finally, how was the response to the question of current job position relevant to educational background? Believe it not, 47 percent participants answered yes to it, confirming that the struggle in the job market is rather moderate.


It might be difficult for recent graduates to get a job, but there is still hope. Competitions, low salaries and lack of experience don't make them incapable of finding something full time.

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