Survey: After college, women are more likely to get stuck in jobs they are overqualified for

After you graduate from college, your job prospects may be slim. In the need to be employed, you may take a job you are vastly overqualified for, thinking “this will just be for a little bit.”

But the first job you take in your career sets the tone for the rest of it. That detour you took can, unfortunately, become permanent, one survey from Burning Glass Technologies and Strada Institute for the Future of Work found.

Survey: regardless of college major, women more likely to take jobs they are overqualified for than men

When women graduate from college, they are more likely to take a job that they are more than qualified to do. Forty-seven percent of women are underemployed compared to 37% of men, the survey found.

This decision can cost women thousands of dollars. Underemployed college graduates, on average, earn $10,000 less annually than graduates who are working in jobs that match their college experience.

And women who did this may never recover financially or professionally. That job you took just to pay bills becomes your career. Recent college grads who took a job they were overqualified for stayed stuck in these jobs. The survey found that underemployed recent college grads were five times more likely to remain in the same kind of job after five years than those who took a college-level job right out of the gate.

Lower pay at the beginning of their career trapped women in a cycle of staying underpaid. This backs up research which has found that Millennial women will make less money than their male counterparts despite equal qualifications in the first five years of their career.

“These findings contradict the popular narrative that underemployment and drift are built into the early phases of career discovery — like some sort of rite of passage for graduates,” Michelle Weise, chief innovation officer for Strada Institute for the Future of Work, said in a statement about the survey. “We as educators, parents, and students can’t just assume a trajectory of success from the moment of graduation.

“The future of work is evolving. A key takeaway here is intentionality. Underemployment isn’t inevitable, but avoiding it and achieving positive outcomes will require more deliberate planning by both colleges and students.”

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