After college graduation everyone has dreams of that high paying job, finally getting their own apartment and living the big life. Unfortunately, for a lot of new graduates, the big life is more like that minimum wage life.
According to new statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 260,000 people who had a college degree or professional degree are either below or at the federal minimum wage level of $7.25. And don’t forget, you’re expected to survive off of that.
While an improving economy might play a role in graduates snagging better-paying jobs, other less-encouraging factors might also be at play.
Experts point to shifts in the post-recession labor market as the reason for so many college graduates in low-paying jobs.
“The only jobs that we’re growing are low-wage jobs, and at the same time, wages across occupations, especially in low-wage jobs, are declining,” said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a staff attorney at the worker advocacy group National Employment Law Project.
Some 58% of the jobs created during the recent economic recovery have been low-wage positions like retail and food prep workers, according to a 2012 NELP report. These low-wage jobs had a median hourly wage of $13.83 or less.
At the same time, median household income has also dropped by more than $4,000 since 2000, according to the Census Bureau.
So what are recent graduates supposed to do, especially when loan repayments are looming over their heads? Do you try to juggle 4 low paying jobs just to make ends meet? Or head back to school for another degree, putting yourself further in debt?
There aren’t too many companies out there that are willing to raise their hourly wages to an actual “living” wage. And even if most companies do pay over $10 an hour, how livable is that actually?