Top Occupations for the Educated Young

If you are a new college graduate, what kind of job can you expect to get? That’s obviously a tough question in this economic environment, so I first decided to see where young college grads are working today. The tables below look at the top occupational groups for young (aged 25-34) holders of bachelor’s degrees and associate degrees.

The first thing to note is that young women and young men still have different occupational patterns. In fact, I was surprised by the size of the gap (maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was).

For both genders, the top occupational group is management, business, and financial. But almost 40% of young female college grads work in healthcare or educational occupations, compared to 17% for young male college grads. On the flip side, computer and engineering occupations show up near the top for young male college grads, but not for females.

*12 months ending July 2010, bachelor’s degree or higher. Includes anyone who responded with an occupation, including a small number of people not in the labor force.
Data: Current Population Survey

And here is the table for young holders of associate degrees. This includes the associate degree in nursing for registered nurses.

The gender difference here is enormous.  For young women with associate degrees, more than half are in health and social services occupations or office and administrative support occupations.  But  surprisingly, those two occupational groups are low on the list for young men with associate degrees, and don’t even show up on the top six.

*12 months ending July 2010, associate degree and not a bachelor’s degree.
Includes anyone who responded with an occupation, including a small number of people not in the labor force.
Data: Current Population Survey

About Michael Mandel 127 Articles

Michael Mandel was BusinessWeek's chief economist from 1989-2009, where he helped direct the magazine's coverage of the domestic and global economies.

Since joining BusinessWeek in 1989, he has received multiple awards for his work, including being honored as one of the 100 top U.S. business journalists of the 20th century for his coverage of the New Economy. In 2006 Mandel was named "Best Economic Journalist" by the World Leadership Forum.

Mandel is the author of several books, including Rational Exuberance, The Coming Internet Depression, and The High Risk Society.

Mandel holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

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