As if English majors needed less encouragement to continue with their degrees, new statistics show an increase in "mal-employment" rates among college graduates, especially those with liberal arts degrees. Nearly four out of 10 graduates between the ages of 20 and 24 are mal-employed, meaning that they are working in menial jobs that do not require a college degree.
Mal-employment is nearly synonymous with underemployment, which simply means working below one's level of ability. Finding a good job after graduation has been difficult since the 2001 recession. Those with degrees in humanities and the social sciences fare especially poorly: 52 percent of these graduates are mal-employed compared with 20 percent of recent engineering graduates, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Taking a job that underutilizes one's skills can prove to be a financial setback with long-term economic consequences. Mal-employed graduates enter the workforce on a lower wage scale than their appropriately employed peers, which results in an income discrepancy that could add up to millions of dollars over their lifetimes.