JOBS: Few for graduates. More are overeducated and underemployed.
Two advanced degrees and 14 years of studying later, Roberto Sanchez found a career he loves – the problem is, even with all his education, he’s not qualified for it.
Though Sanchez earned a master’s in psychology, a bachelor’s in multimedia and an associate degree in graphic design, he is far from his field of study as a legal assistant.
He is now studying to become a lawyer at Western State University while also taking classes part-time at Santa Ana College.
“I have degrees but a lot of people need to remember that just because you have degrees, doesn’t mean you’ll make money right away,” said Sanchez, adding “if you get into the money you’re not going to fall in love with what you do every day. Yes, the money is good, but you’re going to be hating it.”
Sanchez first snagged a job in graphic design in 2002, which didn’t last because constant technological upgrades rendered his degree obsolete.
Even high school kids know how to use Photoshop, Sanchez said.
After getting his master’s in 2007, he landed a job as a corporate job counselor. The recession and his limited experience got him fired.
Although the unemployment rate for young grads has been declining, it is still below the state average, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute.
The underemployment rate, measuring those who want to work full-time, but have settled for part-time work, was 19.8 percent in 2010 and 19.1 percent in 2012, according to the study.
About 68 percent of students believe they will find a job in their field of study within a year after finishing school, according to an informal el Don poll.
But Sanchez knows that this is not a realistic goal.
“I’m 36 years old right now and I still feel that I haven’t achieved what I’m dreaming,” Sanchez said.
Still, the career center on campus tries to stem unemployment, listing about 20 new jobs every month. Eureka, a California career information system is continuously updated with information about universities and majors for students curious about career options.
“We try to show different kinds of careers and what majors are suited best for them,” said Tanya Higuera, who supervises monthly résumé workshops for undeclared majors.
Sanchez thought he left SAC far behind when he graduated in 1999, but he has since returned for part-time night classes while juggling a 40-hour work week.
“I think I’ll never stop going to school,” he said.
Source: Informal el Don Poll / Economic Policy Institute.