Overqualified and Underemployed

They are overqualified and underemployed. In a time when unemployment is mentioned on a daily basis, underemployment is a growing problem that is often overlooked. You are underemployed if you once held a high paying job and are now working in a job you are overqualified to do. You can also consider yourself underemployed if you once held a full time job, and are now working part-time.

"I need to work. I need to pay my bills, I need to pay my mortgage. I'm way behind on that and everything else." David Stagner has a college degree and twenty years of full time experience, but now, he would be satisfied joining the ranks of Amarillo's underemployed... Desperate to find any type of job...even one he is overqualified to do. "I'm applying to all the plants, chemical plants, ConocoPhillips."

Local businesses are seeing a surge in applications of folks just like David, and William Pool, who also has an impressive resume. "The economy is getting worse. What are you gonna do? Where are you gonna go?" They're going to places like Market Street United. Service Manager Ginger Ball says, "In the last few months, we've seen a totally different type of clientele... Educated, lots of college." And they're not picky when it comes to what they're willing to do. "Anything. Sacking groceries, whatever is available. They don't care."

This recent surge of over-qualified, over-educated applicants is what employers dream of, but it's becoming somewhat of a nightmare for those less qualified applicants who would have been a top candidate for those jobs just a few months ago. Texas Workforce Solutions Director Trent Morris says, "There is a hidden job market out there. Employers are less likely to advertise their jobs because there is a large candidate base out there. They can be very selective about who they hire." Nationally, the underemployment rate is nearly double the unemployment rate... Latest figures show it coming in at around 15%.