Reuters recently assigned a number of photographers to capture images of a struggling generation. The result is this series of portraits of graduates from around the world who have been unable to find work in their degree fields and have ended up in poorly paid service industry jobs. Although their current positions may be disappointing, the subjects in these photos may count themselves lucky to have any job at all -- the International Labor Organization estimates the number of people aged 15 to 24 without a job at almost 75 million. From a cook in Athens with a degree in civil engineering to a waiter in Algiers with a masters in corporate finance, these young people have spent years studying hard to compete in the 21st century, only to discover that even the most desirable qualifications mean little in a distressed global economy.
Marcin Lubowicki, a 28 year-old deputy manager of a McDonald's restaurant, with his university diploma in front of the fast food chain in the Arkadia shopping mall in Warsaw, Poland, on May 16, 2012. Lubowicki, who has degree in Russian language from Warsaw University, has been working for McDonald's since 2007. He is now planning to stay in his job.
Francesca Baldi, 32, as she cares for a seven month-old baby in a private household in Rome, on May 11, 2012. Baldi studied for five years at university in Pisa where she received a degree and a doctorate in literature and philosophy. She hoped to find a job as a teacher but has been working in child care for five months.
Karl Moi Okoth, a 27 year-old vegetable and fruit seller, in front of his makeshift shop in Nairobi's Kibera slum in the Kenyan capital, on April 30, 2012. Okoth studied psychology and chemistry at Day Star University where he received a degree in psychology. He has been searching for permanent employment for four years but has decided to make a living working in the slums for the last eight months.
Steffen Andrews, a 24 year-old waiter, serves a customer at Sunny Blue restaurant in Santa Monica, California, on April 24, 2012. Andrews studied for four and a half years at Cabrillo College where he received a degree in communications. He came to Los Angeles to work in the film industry but is now unsure what career he wants to pursue.
Francesco Foglia, 37, at work as a street sweeper in downtown Rome, on April 29, 2012. Foggia studied for six years at university in Rome where he received a degree and a doctorate in industrial chemistry. He hoped to find a job as a researcher but has been working as a street sweeper for Rome's municipality for two years.
Sofiane Moussaoui, a 26 year-old waiter, serves tea for customers in a cafe in Algiers, on April 22, 2012. Moussaoui studied for five years at the University 08 May 1945 Guelma where he received a masters degree in corporate finance. He hoped to find a job as an auditor but has been working as a waiter for over a year.
Manolis Ouranos, a 30 year-old cook, in the Mavros Gatos (Black Cat) tavern in Psiri neighborhood in central Athens, Greece, on May 23, 2012. Manolis studied at Athens Technology University (TEI) for four years where he received a degree in civil engineering. He hoped to find a permanent job in public sector infrastructure but has been working as a cook for four months instead. He now takes cooking lessons which he funds with his salary as a cook.
Daria Vitasovic, a 27 year-old bar manager, works on her laptop in a night bar in Zagreb, Croatia, on May 8, 2012. Vitasovic studied for seven years at Society of Jesus University where she received a degree in philosophy and religious sciences. She hoped to find a job in teaching or study for a PhD in philosophy but has been working as a bar manager for the past four years.
Denis Onyango Olang (right) a 26 year-old assistant cook, prepares food in a dimly lit kitchen at a hotel in Nairobi's Kibera slum in the Kenyan capital, on April 30, 2012. Onyango Olang studied statistics and chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he received a degree in science. He has been searching for permanent employment for two years but has decided to make a living working in the slums for the last eight months.
Terence Kamanda, a 25 year-old waiter, serves customers in The Corner Cafe restaurant in Durban, South Africa, on April 26, 2012. The Zimbabwean national studied for 18 months at the London Chamber of Commerce Institute College in Gweru, Zimbabwe, where he received a diploma in marketing. He hoped to find a job in marketing but has been working as a waiter for eight months.
Kerim Sacak, a 29 year-old sales and delivery person, carries an LCD screen in Tehnomax computer shop in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on May 11, 2012. Sacak studied for four years at Sarajevo University where he received a police degree. For the last four years he has tried to find a job as a police officer but has been working in sales and delivery for three years.
Jessica Mazza, a 28 year-old waitress, serves a customer at Novel cafe in Santa Monica, California, on April 24, 2012. Mazza studied for five years at Ball State University where she received a degree in painting and business management. She hoped to find a job as an artist but has been working in the cafe for just under a year.
Wael Abo El Saoud, a 25 year-old farmer, harvests wheat on Miet Radie farm El-Kalubia governorate, Egypt, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Cairo, on May 8, 2012. Wael studied for four years at Benha University where he received a degree in commerce. He hoped to find a job as a bank accountant but has been working as a farmer for the last five years. He earns between 30 to 60 Egypt pounds a day but does not work all year round.
(Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Abel Santiago, 21, serves a customer at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Santa Monica, California, on April 24, 2012. Santiago studied for one year at Universidad Anahuac Oaxaca for a degree in law. He has worked at the store for five months and hopes to return to Mexico to finish his degree.
Waleed Ahmed el-Sayed, 31, who received a BA in social services from Assyiut University in 2004, sells juice in Tahrir square in Cairo, on May 4, 2012. Waleed has been working as a street vendor for almost seven years as he has not found a steady job since his graduation.
(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Tania Leon, a 29 year-old stewardess, inside a bus in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on May 9, 2012. Leon studied psychology at the University of Santiago de Compostela and received a degree in 2006. She was hoping to find a job as a psychologist but has been working as a stewardess for the last two years.
Almin Dzafic, a 30 year-old waiter, serves customers in the Galerija Boris Smoje cafe in Sarajevo, on May 11, 2012. Dzafic studied for four years at Sarajevo University where he received a degree in civil engineering. For the last four years he has tried to find a job in art restoration but has been working as a waiter for two years. He sees his future outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina because he can not find a job.