QoD: What percent of college graduates end up working in the field of their major?

Sep 15, 2019
Question of the Day, Career

Answer: 27%


  1. Which majors do you think are more likely to lead to a job in that field?
  2. What steps can you take to prepare yourself for employment, regardless of which major you choose?
  3. Given that almost 3/4 of college grads end up in fields that are not related to their major, do you think it's a good idea to consider multiple majors while in college? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom. 

Behind the numbers (Inside Higher Ed):

A New York Federal Reserve Bank study came up with this 27% statistic. The Inside Higher Ed article goes into the details coming from a report based on a huge database of 125 million professional profiles compiled by Emsi. The Emsi report looks at six broad categories of study: languages and philosophy, the social sciences, business, communications, engineering, and IT.

Not surprisingly, the typical path is more of a swirl than a straight line.

The report found that just over half of all jobs tracked in the database were in a business function, one-third in STEM, and one fifth in “soft skills” jobs.

To read about which majors command the highest salaries, check out this Marketplace article.


What's the value of a college degree? Check out this Data Crunch to get the answer. 


About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.