Underemployment Report

Nearly half of the people we surveyed said they were underemployed. Find out why it's harder than ever for some people to launch a career while employers struggle to fill critical jobs.

As many as 22 million Americans can be counted as underemployed, according to how you define the term. PayScale has defined underemployment as having part-time work but wanting full-time work, or holding a job that doesn't require or utilize a person's education, experience or training.

Unemployment is easy to measure. Underemployment, on the other hand, is more nuanced. Our economy is still recovering from The Great Recession, and while some industries are booming, demand for work still outpaces supply for many job types and industries. People who can't find full time work in the field they went to school for often end up taking part time work, or working in jobs unrelated to their field of study. Yet at the same time, many employers report that they can't find people to fill the jobs they do have available. This phenomenon of having more college graduates than ever but not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs that do exist is known as the skills gap.

In this report, PayScale investigates the jobs where workers are most likely to identify as underemployed, why they think they fall into that category, the educational choices that lead to underemployment, and how you can overcome underemployment and make yourself a candidate employers want to hire.

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