In a year of record-breaking job growth, many students who aspire to major in sociology may be surprised to find they have no real way to secure a job in the field.
The lack of job openings is part of a wider trend, experts say, as a large portion of new sociology graduates fail to land a position that pays well enough to live on.
Sociology majors are particularly hard hit by the job market, which is not conducive to their academic careers.
In the most recent national survey by the Association of American Universities, sociology majors are just above the national average for college graduates.
“It is extremely hard for students to get a job as a sociology major, and I think that’s something that we are going to see in the coming years,” said John Kagan, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
While many job seekers are finding jobs in the social sciences, there is little consistency in terms of what skills are required to land an entry-level position, said Elizabeth Zimbalist, a sociology professor at Cornell University.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly half of sociology graduates do not graduate with a high school diploma.
And while a majority of sociology majors say they intend to pursue careers in government, it is not a common practice.
For example, just 4% of sociology students graduate with four years of undergraduate work experience, compared to nearly 8% of students in economics and nearly 7% of the general public.
The job search for the profession is not easy, and some schools, including the University of California, Berkeley, are seeing students with less than a high-school diploma and a few years of experience.
The average sociology major earns just over $30,000 a year, with a median salary of $28,400, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, many sociology majors do not have to worry about making ends meet.
Most sociology majors can earn their degree in one or two years, according the Association for American Universities.
The average undergraduate sociology degree earns about $24,000, according a recent analysis of salary data by the U,S.
Department of Labor.
And some students, who often live off student loans, can earn as much as $60,000 after graduation.
It is not just the students who are struggling with the shortage of jobs.
Many businesses are struggling to hire graduates and, at times, they have to cut jobs, according Toobin, who said that he and his wife had to lay off their son because they were unable to get the job.
When it comes to hiring, the problem is compounded by the fact that the field is relatively new, he said.
“I think it’s a good time to look at why there are so few people with any type of sociology degree, and why we need to recruit as many as possible.”
Many graduates of the sociology major have to learn more than just basic English, which can be a challenge, said Zimballist.
Sociologists need to learn to use social media, how to read and write texts, and how to deal with people, she said.
Many schools, especially those in the sciences, have also been slow to expand their undergraduate programs.
According to the Association College Board, only about 4% percent of colleges and universities offer an undergraduate sociology program in 2019.
As a result, students from all walks of life are often left behind in the academic and job market.
Sociology majors can still get a better job, but it is hard to get into many jobs, especially when students can earn more money in a year than a sociology degree can, Zimbaist said.