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10 College Degrees With Worst Employment Prospects

The Poorest
10 College Degrees With Worst Employment Prospects

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was always an easy question to answer as a kid -but somewhere along the way, the time actually came to grow up. Spaceman, superhero and ballerina were all off the table, and things suddenly started to get real. Although our dream jobs and ambitions are still somewhere at the back of our minds, they have no doubt been compromised. Particularly in today’s economic climate, the current job market proves difficult and promises an inevitable reality-check.

Whether you should study what you love or, rather, what will get you a job is a recurring topic of debate in schools and families. Whatever your take, it’s good to know what your prospects are after graduation, when those carefree days of college are over and it’s time to hit the job market.

Our list ranks the degrees with the highest unemployment rate upon graduation. The list has been drawn up according to a report released in 2012 by the Centre on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. The report breaks down the general statistic of 9% unemployment among recent college graduates, by looking at employment rates in  individual areas of study and pinpointing where the most – and least – opportunities lie.

So, is college even worth it? It’s safe to say that it is. A Bachelor’s degree is still a safe bet and one of the best weapons to be equipped with when looking for employment at home or abroad. Although the general unemployment rate for recent graduates is a disheartening 8.9%, for recent high school graduates it is a far more catastrophic 22.9%, and 31.5% for high school dropouts.

10. Economics – 9.4%   

Economics Student

Unexpectedly, economics makes its way on to our list as one of the degrees with the lower employment rates upon graduation. Fortunately, however, with work experience in the field, unemployment among holders of an economics degree decreases to 5.7%, and with further study it falls to just 4.6%. Moreover, recent economics college graduates that do find work make $48, 000 on average per annum, and graduate degree holders can hope to earn a whopping $101, 000, making it one of the top 5 degrees with the best pay potential. Bottom line is; though it may be a struggle to find immediate employment in the field, economics is a degree well worth getting if you’re aiming to bring in the big bucks.

9. Area, Ethnic and Civilisation Studies – 10.1% 

Ethnictity Student

With an unemployment rate of 10.1% upon graduation, students devoting their college years to studying ethnicity and civilisation tend to have the odds against them when they hit the job market. However, if you have the time and money to spare, work experience or further studies are likely to bring this rate down to 5%. While starting salaries level at around $35, 000, the most qualified in this area earn around $71, 000 per annum.

8. History – 10.2% 

Those that choose to have their head in the past, so to speak, throughout their college degree, may be disillusioned with the state of the current job market. An average of 10.2% of recent history graduates found themselves disappointed and jobless fresh out of college. Work experience in the area helps bring the stats down to 5.8%, but further study proves the true key to success, with unemployment for graduate degree grads averaging at a mere 3.9%. Starting salaries for recent graduates average at $32, 000, while the more qualified in the area reach earnings of $75, 000.

7. Anthropology and Archeology – 10.5% 

Archeology Student

The prospect of unemployment looms over the heads of Anthropology and Archeology students, with 10.5% of their graduate peers unable to find work. Unemployment remains high – at 6.2% – even for graduates with experience in the field. Only pursuing a graduate degree reduces unemployment to a more encouraging 4.1%. Even the recent graduates that do find jobs are making the second lowest average salaries of all college graduates averaging at $28, 000 (higher only than recent Drama and Theatre Arts degree graduates whose salaries average at $26, 000). However, the top-end earners make a respectable average salary of $60, 000 per year.

6. Philosophy and Religious Studies – 10, 8%

Greek philosophers

Gathering wisdom and a knowledge of the Gods may be noble and ideal ways to develop your mind over the college years, but unfortunately 10.8% of recent graduates find themselves with a degree in hand but jobless. Even experienced grads face 6.8% unemployment. Holders of a graduate degree have it easier with a mere 3.8% unemployment. Salaries start at $30, 000 for the lucky recent college grads that do find work, while those that study further can hope to make $62, 000 on average.

5. Information Systems – 11.7%

Undergraduate graphic design students in the studio, Sheaf building

Despite an ever growing demand for computer-whizzes these days, to match technology’s leaping progress, recent degree holders in Information Systems face 11.7% unemployment. It is the only major within the Computers and Mathematics department to be met with such difficulties on the job market. The recent grads that do find work make a more than comfortable $43, 000 on average, while grads with experience can hope to make $68, 000, and those that hold a graduate degree up to $80, 000 a year. So although it is a difficult degree to start off with, it might just be worth the struggle.

4. Commercial Art and Graphic Design – 11.8%

Artist drawing something on graphic tablet at office

Studying Commercial Arts and Graphic Design may seem like a safe bet for the young artists out there that want to be certain of a job come the end of college. However, graduates in this degree suffer 11.8% unemployment – almost as much as Fine Arts graduates. Unfortunately, work experience and further study in the area aren’t much help, reducing unemployment to 7.5 and 7.1% respectively. Starting job salaries average around $32, 000, while the more qualified can aspire to $60, 000 per annum.

3. Fine Arts – 12.6%

Fine Arts Student

You had best be sure of your talent with the paintbrush when deciding on a Fine Arts degree. With a soaring unemployment rate of 12.6%, it is a difficult domain in which to make your mark. Work experience and graduate programs will prove helpful, both reducing unemployment to 7.3% – however, this is still a disheartening figure. Recent grads can hope to make $30, 000 a year while the more qualified hit $55, 000 – which is relatively low compared to other college degrees on offer.

2. Film, Video and Photographic Arts – 12.9%

Photography Student

We’ve all dreamed of being the one to get to say ‘Lights, camera, action’. However, only very few of us ever actually get to sit in the director’s chair. The film and photography worlds are very competitive and as such, they’re tough to get in to. Commitment to the field has to go well beyond attendance of the handful of college classes given a week. Shockingly, the unemployment rate for graduates of further study stands at 13% which is even higher than the 12.9% rate for recent college grads. It’s not the books that are going to get you the job, but the practice. Having done substantial work experience reduces the unemployment rate to 6.7%. Salaries start at $30, 000, while the more qualified, top-end salaries are around $58, 000 per year.

1. Architecture – 13.9%

Architecture Student

Although cities are constantly growing, both outwards and upwards, architecture proves to be a difficult field to get in to. Architecture students are often among the most talented – gifted both mathematically and artistically. It seems ironic, therefore, that they should be faced with the shockingly high unemployment rate of 13.9%. Moreover the degree is a difficult one, with long hours demanded in class but also working on projects in the studio. Even the more experienced grads face a painfully high unemployment rate of 9.2%. Further study brings it down to 7.7% but are the extra time and money really worth it? Salaries for the lucky recent grads that do find work average at $36, 000 a year, while those with higher degrees can aspire to $71, 000.

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