The Problem with Underemployment

Highly skilled job-seekers unattractive to many employers

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Thursday, Oct 15, 2009  |  Updated 5:49 PM CDT
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Many People Overqualified for their Jobs

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment hit 9.8 percent in September and is trending upward.

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Many People Overqualified for their Jobs

For every person is who is out of a job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are nearly two others working in a job for which they are overqualified.
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When Tyran Jackson lost his job as a manager at a large Chicago hotel,he left home and took the only position he could find; a front desk supervisor at the Aloft Hotel in Dallas.

"It was definitely a huge paycut. A huge paycut," said Jackson. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment hit 9.8 percent in September and is trending upward. Seventeen percent of the people who do have jobs are underemployed; working in positions for which they are overqualified.

Having a large pool of highly skilled candidates sounds like a good problem to have. But, many employers don't want to hire overqualified people because they know they will move on when they find a better job. 

"You spend all that time getting that person trained and getting them in the position and getting schedules made, and then they do find something and leave, and you have to do it all over again," said Al Hunter, manager, Aloft Hotel downtown Dallas.

Because he came from the hotel industry, Hunter took a chance on Tyran. But many candidates he turned away during the hotel opening had MBA's from well-respected schools like Stanford.

"I knew he would be a big asset in opening the hotel. I just figured we wouldn't be able to keep him long," said Hunter.

However, a manager position opened up a few days ago, and Tyran was promoted.

He's now one of the lucky few back on track in his career, and hoping to move up once again.

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