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by Vault Education Editors | May 20, 2011


Whatever your stance on the matter of college’s value or the putative education bubble, here are some scary new survey results to mull over: Only 56 percent of the class of 2010 has worked at least one job since graduation, according to a Rutgers study. And only 52 percent of recent grads (2006-2010) took jobs that required a four-year degree.  

A lot of college grads—even Ivy Leaguers—are slogging through jobs in an unintended field, or in no field, or temp work. Possibly a third of them end up living with their parents, many dependent on those parental dollars. A sympathetic person might say they had the misfortune of being born at the wrong time.

One conclusion to be drawn could be that grad school is the new college, and undergrad is just a stone you step on to get to that great big graduate program stone, which is the stone that really counts. This seems to be the impression recent grads have of the way things work now—only one in five thought they could hack it in their field with nothing but a bachelors. So, maybe students are just not willing to make a poor first step, because they know how devastating starting on the wrong track can be to their long-term salaries and their careers.

An assumption some, probably older, folks are making is this: Young people are growing up more privileged and entitled than prior generations, and they aren’t as willing to take the low track because they have the parental support to do so, or some variant of that Millennials-are-just-lazy argument. There is some recent evidence for that, of recent grads not looking hard enough for full-time work; then again, the Rutgers survey suggests many college students are in fact working hard, they aren’t just slackers. In general, the type of longing for olden times, when people really, truly worked hard, I think, will always seem true to older generations. Every new crop of young people always makes us want to shout, Kids these days!   

[NYT, Unfulfilled Expectations:Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy, Adecco 2011 College Graduate Survey Results]


Generation-i: Responsible. Social. Entitled?


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