Gone are the days of getting a job right out of school. According to a new Gallup poll, young adults in the U.S. are less likely than older adults to hold a full-time job, regardless of their level of education. The poll found that, although college-educated young adults are nearly twice as likely to be employed full-time compared with those without a degree, the full-time employment rate for Americans ages 18 to 29 dropped from 47 percent to 43.6 percent over the last year.
In June 2012, 68.9 percent of young adults with a college degree and 41.0 percent without a college degree held full-time positions, defined as working at least 30 hours per week. Both of these percentages decreased in June 2013, with 65.4 percent of young Americans with a degree and 38.6 percent without a degree currently working full-time.
Gallup said reduced hiring in a recovering economy has limited the ability of adults in this age bracket to secure full-time work. Meanwhile, the full-time employment rate for Americans age 30 or older has steadily increased since June 2010. This is likely because companies are choosing to hire and promote individuals with more experience rather than taking a chance on younger workers looking to break into their respective fields.
While a significant percentage of Americans voluntarily work part-time or are self-employed, the decrease in available full-time employment for the younger population has troubling implications for the U.S. economy and workforce. Galloup's report claims that full-time jobs and their associated benefits are the financial and social foundation of the American middle class.
If a growing number of college-educated adults are unable to obtain full-time positions, they will be unable to gain the necessary experience to advance their careers and earn a higher salary to move into the middle class, Gallup suggested.