Retailor with Master & PhD degrees

Photograph by Reza Estakhrian

Young retailors are standing on the first floor of Macy’s, smiling amicably and confidently, answering questions that any customer may have. Do you expect these young adults are working for the minimum wage? What degrees do they possibly have? Michael Dolgow  of the Business Week brings you an article explaining this phenomnon.

For college graduates, it seems almost as if 30 is the new 10. Over-educated, underemployed, and disgruntled, many grads saddled by debt are waiting—often in their parents’ homes—for a chance to break into a career in the field they studied.

Students with advanced degrees have been unable to find jobs consistent with their skill set, leading to a heavy influx of overqualified young people in retail positions that typically require no more than a high school diploma. Almost 30 percent of 25-to-29-year-old college graduates now work in occupations that do not require higher education, while for those aged 20 to 24, the figure is over 39 percent.

“I’m here to start off, but I don’t plan to do this forever,” says Francesca McErath, 26, who sells cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s on the East Side of Manhattan. She has a master’s degree in social work from New York University, but was forced to change her career course after completing the program in 2010, due to the difficult job market. “I had a complete switch and went into cosmetics, which was my original field, and now I intend to move up the ladder through retail,” she explained last week as she stood on the store’s bustling second floor.

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