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PEDAR: Executive Summary Beyond 9 to 5: The Diversity of Employment Among 1992-93 College Graduates in 1997
Prevalence of Alternative Employment
Demographic, Family, and Academic Chatacteristics
Alternative Employment 1 and 4 Years After College Completion
Alternative Employment and Other Labor Market Experiences
Research Methodology
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Executive Summary (PDF)

Numerous studies have examined the employment benefits of earning a bachelor's degree, concluding that higher levels of education sharply increase one's earning potential and employment opportunities (Cappelli et al. 1997). In particular, several studies have demonstrated the labor market advantage that students who concentrate in applied fields, such as business and engineering, experience with respect to higher salaries and full-time employment (e.g., Grogger and Eide 1995; Pascarella and Terenzini 1991; Rumberger and Thomas 1993). However, today's labor market does not necessarily guarantee a college graduate a traditional 9 to 5 job, nor is this type of employment the only option. Bachelor's degree recipients are well-represented in the contingent (short-term) workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2001; Hipple 1998), but there is little research that examines the experiences of bachelor's degree recipients who are not full-time professional employees, but instead have alternative employment.

Although alternative employment is defined differently in various studies, this analysis examines both alternative working arrangements and occupation types. Alternative working arrangements examined here include self-employment, part-time employment, and employment in multiple jobs. An aggregate variable indicating whether or not the respondent was in any of these three employment situations is also included. In addition, this analysis explores the occupation type of the respondents: clerical and support occupations and field professions1 are both considered alternative employment for this study because they include jobs historically filled by workers without bachelor's degrees (Decker, Rice, and Moore 1997).

This study uses data from the 1993/97 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:93/97), representing college graduates who received their bachelor's degrees in academic year 1992-93. Survey participants were sampled from the 1992-93 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93) and were first surveyed in their final year of college, with follow-ups conducted in 1994 and 1997, approximately 1 year and 4 years after graduation. The analysis focuses primarily on employment in 1997 and includes those who were employed and not enrolled for further study at that time. The data are used to address the following questions: How prevalent is alternative employment among bachelor's degree recipients who are not enrolled? Which bachelor's degree recipients are most likely to work in alternative employment, by various demographic, family, and academic characteristics, particularly by gender? What are the differences between patterns of alternative employment when graduates are 1 year out of college and when they are 4 years out of college? How do those in alternative employment differ from those in traditional employment in terms of their reasons for taking their job, benefits, salaries, and job satisfaction?

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education