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.

  Top Occupations for Young Male College Grads    
    percent of labor force, aged 25-34*
Management, business, and financial occupations 23.1%  
Sales and related occupations   11.1%  
Computer and mathematical science occupations 10.1%  
Education, training, and library occupations   9.1%  
Healthcare and social services occupations   7.4%  
Architecture and engineering occupations   7.3%  
       
Top Occupations for Young Female College Grads    
    percent of labor force, aged 25-34*
Management, business, and financial occupations 20.5%  
Healthcare and social services occupations   19.6%  
Education, training, and library occupations   19.3%  
Office and administrative support occupations   11.6%  
Sales and related occupations   7.4%  
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations 3.8%  
       
*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.

  Top Occupations for Young Male Associate Degree Holders  
    percent of labor force, aged 25-34*
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations 11.3%  
Sales and related occupations   11.2%  
Management, business, and financial occupations 10.5%  
Construction and extraction occupations   9.7%  
Protective service occupations   6.9%  
Transportation and material moving occupations 6.6%  
       
Top Occupations for Young Female Associate Degree Holders  
    percent of labor force, aged 25-34*
Healthcare and social services occupations   32.3%  
Office and administrative support occupations   24.0%  
Sales and related occupations   8.9%  
Management, business, and financial occupations 8.3%  
Food preparation and serving related occupations 4.7%  
Education, training, and library occupations   3.6%  
       
*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      

P.S. I did the tables differently for this post. Better or worse?

Comments

  1. Wow, 20% of female college grads work in business and finance. That’s news to me. I’d be interested to see how these numbers match up with the top occupations for young people with advanced degrees. Obviously the overall numbers would be a lot less, but I’m curious to see where the percentages would fall.

    • If you work in a “tech” corporation, check out the workforce composition in e.g. Payroll/Finance, Legal, HR, (to a lesser extent marketing, sales), IT, and product groups. The female/male ratio should decline roughly in that order. The jump between “overhead” and product groups should be most pronounced.

  2. Has anyone here read The Misandry Bubble? I looked at these tables, and that was the first thing that popped into my head.

    • I may read it in more detail, but to be polite, I don’t see a lot of merit in the thesis the author is proposing. (This is not to say I’m disputing all individually presented facts and phenomena, but certainly the conclusion does not seem to carry a lot of water.)

  3. I’m surprised at your surprise, Mike, haven’t women always dominated in fields like teaching or nursing or secretarial work? Perhaps the balance has shifted a bit, but not that much. The coming devastation of education and medicine by online learning and medicine (wonder how they’re being affected by the current BPO trend too) will no doubt disproportionately affect women, but I’m sure there will be online work for them to transition into.

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