Too many grads not enough jobs

ALMOST half of the recent graduates employed in the UK are working in jobs that don’t need a degree, according to official statistics released yesterday.

A total of 47 per cent of recent graduates work in what the Office for National Statistics (ONS) calls “non-graduate” jobs, where their tasks do not require a degree.

Just over a decade ago, in 2001, the share of graduates in the same position was only 37 per cent. Even when workers have been out of university for five years, a third can expect to be in non-graduate positions.

With an especially punishing labour market for young people, a growing number of graduates are poorly matched with the skills their job requires, despite the proportion of people with degrees more than doubling in the past 20 years – from 17 per cent of the population in 1992 to 38 per cent today.

Despite recent economic growth, the unemployment rate for recent graduates sat at 8.82 per cent in the second quarter, barely changed from the 8.99 per cent recorded in the same three months of 2009. However, young people with degrees remain better off than non-graduates aged between 21 and 30, 14.27 per cent of whom are out of work and looking.

The figures mask a huge spread between different types of education. Former medicine students are earning an average wage of £46,000, with 95 per cent of them in employment. By contrast, only 85 per cent of people who studied arts at university are in work, on an average salary of £21,994 per year, less than half of a medicine graduate’s.

And though media students are some of the most employable, with 93 per cent in jobs, they also earn only £21,008 per year on average, the lowest of any graduate category.