New study shows careers and college majors often don't match

(Moneywatch) College students tend to agonize about their choice of major, but it turns out that for many of these graduates it probably won't matter.

A new survey from CareerBuilder suggests that plenty of Americans never work in the field that they prepared for in college. Among the 2,134 workers surveyed, 47 percent of college graduates did not find a first job that was related to their college major. What's more, 32 percent of college grads said that they had never worked in a field related to their majors. 

Despite an inability to find work in their chosen academic fields, 64 percent of employees say they are happy with the degree they pursued and 61 percent said that they still believe they can find their dream job. Just over one-third of the college-educated workers wished they had picked a different college major. 

Graduating into a depressed labor market did not help college grads land a job in their respective fields. Twenty-eight percent said the demand for their degree worsened between the time they entered college and when they graduated while 59 percent said the market for their degree was unchanged. Only 13 percent said the demand for their degree increased.

Another study shows same trend

The CareerBuilder study isn't the first to show that many college graduates do not end up in fields linked to their prime academic interests. A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York earlier this year illustrated this phenomenon. 

In a New York Fed chart, you can see that 62 percent of college graduates with a bachelors degree were working in a field that required a college degree. The pie chart on the right shows the percentage of college graduates (27.3 percent) who were working in a job directly related to their college major. 

Using census data, the New York Fed study suggests that graduates who hunt for jobs in big cities enjoy a greater chance of finding a job that fits their skills. What's more, the larger the size of the city, the more likely grads will find a job that matches their skills. 

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