How to Get Out of Underemployment

How to Get Out of Underemployment

As a young graduate getting a job has always been your dream right from school, and now you were able to achieve your dreams by being part of the workforce, but the challenge here is that you are underemployed. You might have been in the workforce for a while but your skills and expertise are below your salary and workforce. Underemployment has become a huge challenge in our society: University Graduates are taking up jobs meant for OND (Ordinary National Diploma) and many other people are taking up jobs they are overqualified for.

Underemployment is an awful phenomenon especially for fresh graduates because if you start your career underemployed then the trend will continue. Underemployment is not awful to everyone because some people see it as an advantage. A doctor that is working in a government hospital where he is underemployed will use the opportunity to work in his own private hospital. Underemployment is beneficial to some people because it helps them save extra time.

What is Underemployment?

Underemployment can mean the following;

  • Employed in a job that offers fewer hours than one wishes. For instance, Causal jobs or part-time jobs.
  • Earning below your educational qualification. For instance, one has a Master’s degree and is collecting the salary of a B.Sc. holder
  • Doing a job that does not correlate with your skills. For instance, You studied Accounting at the university and you are teaching Elementary School Children

Signs of Underemployment

  • Lack of Motivation
  • You are Overqualified
  • You are teaching your boss new tips
  • You spend a few hours at work
  • Low salary
  • No progress or advancement in your career
  • Nothing Challenges you about your job
  • Low Salary
  • Job Dissatisfaction

Tips to get out of Underemployment

Identify you are Underemployed

The first step towards getting out of underemployment is to accept your underemployed state. Most people are underemployed, but they are not aware of it. The best way to know you are underemployed is by making research about your Job position: the qualification, skill, salary and working hours you are supposed to spend at work. You can make this research by evaluating other organizations with similar job positions. This research will help you discover your worth and also help you discover if your skills are underutilized.

Negotiate for a Review of Job Position with your Employer

Once you have discovered that your qualification should warrant you a higher responsibility, salary, and incentives. Go back to the negotiation table and review your working contract with your boss. Be open and tell your boss about where you are aspiring to be in the next few years of your career and if there is a job position that is equivalent to your skills and qualification in your organization whisper to your boss about it. For instance, if you studied Accounting and you are doing the work of a marketer in a bank, all you do as a Marketer is to roam the street looking for customers for the bank; speak to your bank manager to review your job contract to that of an Accountant.

Update your Resume and Apply for a Job Elsewhere

A scenario may occur where your employer cannot give you a job that matches your skills and expertise; the best way is to resign and seek an opportunity elsewhere that correlates with your skills and expertise. You can make use of online platforms like; LinkedIn and many other platforms to apply for jobs that match your qualification. Make very good use of LinkedIn; create a profile, update your records and qualifications.

Seek Out a Part-time job

One of the biggest challenges of underemployment is that you can’t enough money for your daily upkeep. The best way to get out of underemployment is to look for part-time jobs where your skills and expertise can be maximized. Make your current job a full-time job and the other a part-time job, although this solely depends on the working hours of both jobs.  For instance, if you work only four hours a day, you can start working part-time in order to make extra income. You can enroll for part-time jobs online such as Content Writer, Copywriter, Customer care representative, and many more. Working remotely will create a very strong balance in your career life.

Make Contacts

In life, networking has always been an opportunity booster. Reach out to friends, families, schoolmates, and professors; inform them about your employment status and how you can get out of it. You can also join a forum of professionals in your field to know the Job position that is suitable for you. Go for academic and professional conferences in your field to acquire skills and also to make contacts. Making good use of human contacts will connect you to the Job that is suitable for you. For instance, if you studied Journalism, you can join a forum of journalists where you can meet professionals and this will enhance your opportunity to get out of underemployment.


Consider embarking on a voluntary job to acquire more skills. If you are underemployed, you can search for a voluntary job that matches your skills and expertise to practice. Voluntary jobs open more doors to bigger opportunities; they will help you make contacts, build the necessary skills, and above all help you to put your skills into use. Voluntary Jobs are very good for fresh graduates who are underemployed. For Instance, if you studied law at the University, you can volunteer as a lawyer for a private law firm.

Start a Business

Create your own opportunity by starting a business that can give you extra cash, maximize your skill and increase your working hours. You can launch your own business where you can always fall back to after your few working hours. You can always start small with little capital and such businesses are Retail Store Business, Market vendors, or farming business. If you don’t have enough cash; you can draft a business plan and apply for a loan. You can do your business both online and offline.


Underemployment is a very bad phenomenon because it makes your skills dormant, and it can kill your professional career. Your skills, qualifications, and expertise should never be under-managed, but they should be maximized for the betterment of society. Follow the tips above to zoom off out of underemployment.


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