College grads overconfident in job prospects

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(MoneyWatch) Is this year's crop of college graduates overconfident about their job prospects?  

It sure looks like it if you believe a new study conducted by consulting firm Accenture that suggests that the newest college grad are naive about the state of the labor market.

Only 15 percent of the respondents expect to earn less than $25,000, but 32 percent of grads from the previous two years are earning those modest salaries. Nearly two-thirds expect to find jobs in their field of study, yet in reality only about half of recent college grads succeeded in doing this.

Among people who graduated in 2011 and 2012, meanwhile, 41 percent said they are currently underemployed or working in jobs that do not require a college degree. 

While college students are urged to find internships to increase their employment chances, just 42 percent of the students who did have internships said that it led to jobs.

Seventy-seven percent of 2013 graduates expect their first employer to provide formal training, but fewer than half, at 48 percent, of 2011 and 2012 grads surveyed say they received this type of training in their first job.

"A solution is sorely needed to bridge the disconnect between employers who are concerned about college graduates being unprepared for available jobs and the graduates who feel overqualified for them," said David Smith, a senior managing director at Accenture. "Hiring someone with a higher-level degree than is necessary for a given job does not reduce the need to invest in training specialized skills."

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