On the whole, the job market is looking mighty bright for the class of 2016. The unemployment rate is about half as high as it was for the class of 2009, and a college degree has arguably never been more valuable than it is today. One in five college students this year accepted a job offer before graduation, up from 12% in 2015 and 11% in 2014, according to new data from Accenture. Nearly 90% of those students said they expected to find work in their chosen field of study, compared to 65% of graduates in 2014 and 2015.
Accenture surveyed roughly 1,000 students entering the job market in 2016 along with 1,000 workers who graduated in 2014 and 2015.
All in all, 2016 graduates are feeling extremely optimistic about life after graduation. But hidden inside Accenture’s data are a few darker trends graduates should probably be prepared for.
1. You’re probably going to be underemployed.
Slightly more than half of all recent graduates (51%) say they consider themselves to be underemployed — that means they’re working in fields that don’t require a college degree. That’s up from 41% in 2013 and 46% in 2014.
2. You might not find a job in your desired field.
Nearly 90% of the class of 2016 expects to find a job within their chosen major, but only 65% of previous classes said they’ve managed to do so. When probed, the majority of past graduates said they wound up taking a job in a different field because they couldn’t afford to wait for the right job to come along.
3. You probably won’t earn as much as you’d like to earn.
When asked, the vast majority of 2016 grads said they expect to earn more than $25,000 annually in their first job out of college. Only 13% thought they would earn less.
In reality, 38% of 2014-15 college graduates earned less than $25,000 in their first job. On the bright side, a good number of graduates (32%) fell in the middle of the pack, earning between $35,000 and $70,000.
4. Your employer won’t have time to hold your hand.
The majority of new graduates (80%) said they expect to go through a formal training process before starting their new gig. If past graduates’ experience is any indication, they might find themselves disappointed. Just a little over half of past graduates said they were offered formal job training.
5. You might not leave the nest right away.
There’s no shame in moving in with parents or family after college, especially if you find yourself joining the ranks of the “underemployed” for a while. About half of recent graduates predicted that their parents would help pay for the majority of their rent and living expenses after college. If the 2014-15 classes are any indication, they may need more help than they think. Nearly two-thirds of those graduates reported relying on family for their housing and living expenses.