College Grads Settling for Retail Jobs
The good news: seemingly more college grads are working retail these days. The bad news: they don’t want to be there.
A joint study by PayScale, Inc., a provider of on-demand compensation data and software, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y consulting company, looked at the state of the Gen Y worker (18 to 29).
According to the study based on survey of as many as 500,000 Gen Y workers between July 2011 to July 2012, more than 63 percent of Gen Y workers have a bachelor’s degree but many are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree, particularly retail.
For instance, Millenials are more than four times as likely as workers overall to hold a retail industry jobs such as a merchandise displayer, clothing sales representative, or cell phone sales representative. More than 80 percent of millennials selling clothes have bachelor’s degrees, while almost 70 percent of cell phone reps are college grads. The median pay for the merchandising job is just $23,400, while the other two pay around $28,000.
The study comes as the national unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in July. The rate reached 13.5 percent among those between the ages of 20 and 24 while 9.3 percent of those aged 25 to 29 are unemployed.
"Gen Y is finding themselves lost in this place of getting a college degree, paying a lot of money for that college degree and then not being able to put it to use and only finding jobs that typically don’t require a college degree, whether it be in retail or a barista or anything in the service industry," PayScale’s lead economist, Katie Bardaro, told The Fiscal Times. "And they’re just trying to chip away at their student debt any way they can."
On the positive side, the study found Gen Y to be highliy-qualified in emerging areas such as technology and social media. Software, blogging and social media topped their list of skills. Gen Y workers also showed a preference for smaller firms that allow for more flexibility, an opportunity to embrace their entrepreneurial ambitions, and the opportunity to use social networks at work without strict corporate guidelines.
"While they are the future corporate leaders and change-makers, they are suffering in this economy by having to work in retail jobs over professional ones," said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, Gen Y expert and bestselling author of Me 2.0, in a press release. "A bachelor’s degree can no longer be traded in for a job."
- Gen Y in the Workplace – PayScale
- PayScale and Millennial Branding Release Study on the State of the Gen Y Worker – PayScale
- Gen Y most likely to hold low-paying jobs in retail – USA Today
- Got a Degree? Get Ready to Settle for Retail Job – The Fiscal Times
- Is Gen Y Underemployed or Just Lazy? – Forbes
Can retail improve on the way it’s working as a post-college apprentice tool? Should retailers capitalize more on the seemingly greater amount of college grads open to retail work? On the other hand, what are the risks of hiring “settling” employees?