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Every 5 minutes, college grads accept jobs despite being 'overqualified'

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Every five minutes, a college graduate accepts a role they are 'overqualified' for.

That's according to a report (.pdf) by online publishing forum McKinsey On Society, which states that last year, approximately 120,000 bachelor degree holders -- out of an estimated 1.7 million -- took jobs in sectors other than their chosen field.

Four to five times more graduates are currently in roles within the retail and restaurant sectors in comparison to degree holders who are happy to be, the report says.

The U.S. is facing a difficult situation. Investing in the next generation to give them the opportunity to study in higher education can raise future economic prospects and promote research and innovation -- but often, students do not have the skills necessary for employers in more specialized roles to take them on, and face potentially crippling amounts of debt which turns prospective students away from study.

Employers have often complained that today's graduates have to be taught from scratch, and can lack the key skills necessary for roles beyond the classroom. In this manner, you could argue that while jobs in sales, retail and service are not as highly-paid or lucrative as specialist fields, they do provide work experience and the chance to improve these core skills.

However, the job sector is not always kind to graduates. A number of students can be turned away for being "overqualified." Based on personal experience, after graduation, I spent a year out of work being turned away -- and told I was "overqualified" -- only securing a job when I removed qualifications and experience from my resume.

The reasoning? Once something better comes along, you will leave -- and the time and effort the employer has spent training you must be repeated again with a new member of staff.

With unemployment high, any job is better than nothing, especially when so many with and without industry experience and qualifications are out of work. But perhaps employers should begin considering their future prospects without taking on enough graduates now -- and students should consider getting work experience to back themselves up earlier.

Read More: Huffington Post

Image credit: Flickr

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— By on June 24, 2013, 8:28 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure