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Survey: 15% of Americans don’t use anything from their college major in the workplace

It’s a thought that college kids everywhere have had at one point or another: How much will I actually apply what I’m learning when I start working?

Recent research from edX, a nonprofit site with various educational courses that was established by MIT and Harvard, shows that 15% of Americans don’t use anything they learned from their college major in the workplace.

Furthermore, 29% of people surveyed said that they “have completely changed fields since” beginning their first position after graduating from college, and half said that “educational requirements” make it harder to switch careers or move forward.

The company polled more than 1,000 employed Americans (ages 25-44) via Google Consumer Surveys.

How much Americans’ education comes in handy at work

The survey shows that 21% of people surveyed say that they use “all of their education” in the office, while 53% say that they use “half or less.”

While 62% of those surveyed said that money was “a barrier to gaining knowledge/skills to enhance their current career or enable them to switch careers,” 60% said the same thing about time.

But while 32% surveyed have contemplated switching careers over the course of the last year, the survey also explored why Americans are motivated to switch careers in the first place. While the most popular choice was a “salary increase” at 39%, 21% said that they had an “interest in a different field/career” and 20% said that they wanted “upward mobility.”

“The business landscape is changing, and today’s workforce needs a skillset for industries that did not exist a decade ago. For example, the skills required to be successful as a Data Scientist were not necessarily something that universities were offering five to ten years ago,”Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX said. “While data science is now one of the most in-demand subjects to study, individuals and their employers need to recognize that they’ll need to embrace a mindset of lifelong learning to succeed in our continuously evolving workforce, which includes education post-college.”

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