The Underemployed

Does Education Level Play a Role in Underemployment?

Education level plays a large role in potential underemployment. The vast majority of workers—of any education level—state that the reason they're underemployed is because they're not using their education or training in their current job. The secondary reason for underemployment? Workers have been able to find only part-time work when they're seeking a full-time job.

Though some level of underemployment exists regardless of education level, in general, our data shows that if you've achieved a lower level of education—no higher than an Associate's degree, GED or High School diploma, or have completed some college coursework but not yet earned your degree—you're more likely to be underemployed than those who have achieved higher educational levels.

The one place where the trend sees a slight reversal? The level of underemployment is higher for workers with some college coursework but no college degree (57 percent) than for workers with only a GED or high school diploma who have never completed a college course (52 percent).

Interestingly forty-one percent of MBA degree holders reported being underemployed, and of those almost 90 percent said they're not using their education or training in their current job, the highest percentage of any degree holders we surveyed.

Conversely, doctors of medicine, those who have earned an MD, reported the lowest level of underemployment, at 30 percent overall. Sixty-five percent of those said that they’re not using their education or training, also the lowest reported percentage in our report.