Having a Quarter-Life Crisis? Calm Down, You.

…and read these stats on post-grad millennials’ views on jobs and education.

We’ve all been there. You’re at some social gathering, maybe a wedding, a family get-together, or a night out with friends. You’re having a great time… UNTIL somebody says this: “Oh, you studied [insert any college major/master’s degree here]? You must have learned so much. So, what do plan on doing with that?”

Your brain freezes. GREAT. Being the paranoid parrot that you are, you assume that this person asked this question because he or she:

  • a) is genuinely interested in your future (hah! yeah, right!).
  • b) is trying to size you up like Regina George (“So, you agree? You think you’re really smart?”).
  • c) is under the impression that your major is about as useful as mastering the art of Ross Gellar’s “unagi.”
  • d) doesn’t think you’ll ever find a job, and is insinuating he/she believes you will be living in a cardboard box.
  • e) is just trying to make conversation (hah! yeah, right again!).

You try to be nonchalant. You try not to give away the fact that you’re panicked beyond belief. You try to give a safe answer. “Oh, you know, I’m open to pretty much anything,” you say. Which is true. You are willing to take something, anything just to get your foot in the door.

Ugh. “Could this BE anymore awkward?” says the Chandler Bing voice inside your head.


Chip up, buttercup! You’re not the only person who has experienced this awkward conversation. And while the last thing you may want to hear about is how well other twenty-somethings are doing career-wise, or what they think about our current economic state, you could learn a thing or two from them. Their insights into the economy, what skills are necessary in the workplace, and regrets they have about their education may help you figure out how to make it in the real world. Remember: if those fools can do it, so can you!

So, I present you with some statistics about millennials’ thoughts on education and employment, drafted up by the Pew Research Center in a recently published report.

Let’s get the most well-known stat about college out of the way: college graduates make more money than high school graduates or people who never completed college. Great. Duh. Thank you, Captain Obvious. This would be useful if I actually had a job.

Less than 1/3 of millennials said their biggest regret was choosing the major that they ended up getting a degree in.
The median income for a millennial college grad – $45,000 – is the highest it has been in the last half-century.
The unemployment rate for millennial college graduates was 3.8% last year. In contrast, the unemployment rate for millennials who didn’t graduate college was above 12%.

of millennial college grads say that having a college education has already paid off.

46% of millennial college grads say that their college education helped them in their careers.
86% of college grads who took on some form of loan to pay for college say it was worth it.
86% of employed college grads agree that they have settled either into a job that’s on their “career track,” or already have started their professional career.
78% of engineering majors said their major was at least somewhat or very closely related to their job, while 60% of liberal arts grads and 72% of business grads said the same.
Instead, 50% of those surveyed said they wished they had taken on more work experiences during college.

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