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.

From CNN:

While an improving economy might play a role in graduates snagging better-paying jobs, other less-encouraging factors might also be at play.

A total of 21 states, including New Jersey, New York and Connecticut recently, have higher minimum wage floors than the federal level of $7.25 per hour

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?



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  • A

    It’s unfortunate that this is what I should be prepared for instead of my imagination lol(my dream includes the instant blooming career, the nice apartment, etc..)

  • Ruth

    That is the story of my professional life! Graduated from college in 2011 making $8.00/hour with a cap of 20 hours/ week. Tried for two years to make something else happen but to no avail. Finally decided to attend graduate school in a more unique field in hopes of not being reliant on market fluctuations.

  • BabyBlue

    This all sounds so familiar. Graduated 2012 to get one temp job and a retail job. It honestly made me question the educational system and how much of a scam it can be. Schools and universities need to stop selling dreams and start putting their students on the path to capture their dreams. I too will be attending school again. Same field different profession. But, I learned so much from my last experience that I won’t make the same mistake twice. 1. Turn your hobby into a hustle while in school 2. Work a part time while in school 3. Stay active on your LinkedIn account 4. Don’t wait until the last three months to start looking for Externship and internships. That starts on the first day of school. I learned to just be more proactive.

  • One thing I learned from reading articles like this and by attending college (and meeting people who graduated before me and are stuck in this position) is that you really have to make connections in college. Just getting by and passing through a four-year college is not going to cut it any more. Nowadays, you have to stick with an internship or something that gets you experience and networks. Nowadays, it seems to be more about WHO you know, than WHAT you know. I just realized this later on in college. Now, I’m a senior and I’ll be going into a decent kind of job (Teach for America, that is). But it’s so crucial to network and show off your skills to the pros so they could fight for your work ethic and talent!