Underemployment – a recent word

Getting any job is not enough.  Underemployment is also a concern. The term, “underemployment” can mean different things: having a job that doesn’t pay enough, that doesn’t offer enough work hours, or that does not use the full set of skills a worker has. In a very short, report, The Washington Post has a story relating underemployment to selection of undergraduate major. It is ” The College Majors most and least likely to lead to underemployment.” 

The report comes from the salary information firm, Pay Scale. Neither the article nor the Pay Scale link have all that much information although the Pay Scale site has a nice infographic and the Post article an interesting graph.  As a rule, it looks like engineers and math majors have the least issues with underemployment; criminal justice, health care administration, sociology and psychology majors as well as “general studies” and “liberal arts” and education majors seem to have the most issues.  No big surprise so far.

One interesting note: “law” is listed as an undergraduate major among the least underemployed. Since law is not an undergraduate major – at least in the U.S. in the usual sense of the word, “major,” I am wondering what this result means — even more so because students with that purported major – are the only non-STEM major students [or graduates, really] on the underemployed list.  Since I start thinking of “pre-law” in the context of “liberal arts,” my puzzlement only increases since liberal arts majors are on the most underemployed list. It is a result that deserves pondering.


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