Nearly half of all college graduates in the United States work in jobs that don’t require a college degree, with most of those employed at jobs that require a high school diploma or less to qualify, according to a new study.

“Some 37 percent [of graudates], in fact, are in jobs requiring a high-school diploma or less, and about 11 percent in jobs typically requiring some postsecondary training, usually an associate’s degree,” the Center for College Affordability and Productivity reports in a new study of federal employment data and college subsidy policies. “In the three occupations ‘retail sales person,’ ‘cashier,’ and ‘waiters and waitresses’ there are more than 1.7 million college graduates employed, and the other fourteen occupations listed in the table employ almost one million more college graduates. There are, of
course, many other occupations requiring little education with significant numbers of college graduates, such as taxi drivers (36,945 have college degrees—15.4 percent of the total), and parking lot attendants (16,138 have at least a bachelor’s degree—12.9 percent of the total).”

As students — and government policy makers pushing the importance of college — fail to pursue the training needed to for specific jobs, employers are raising the requirements for even menial positions.

“[O]nly 12 percent of 2007 ads for dental laboratory technicians required a degree, compared with 33 percent of 2012 ads, suggesting the possibility of even rapid credential inflation in recent years,” the report authors note, citing another scholar.  “According to that argument, then, college is really more of a screening device that helps separate the sharp, disciplined applicants from the dullards and slackers.”

Investorssees a college bubble problem. “As a result, while colleges will churn about roughly 19 million college graduates between 2010 and 2020, the market will likely create fewer than 7 million new jobs that require at least a bachelor’s degree,” the editors wrote.