The number of graduates forced to take up low-paid jobs has doubled in the past five years, according to figures released yesterday.
They show that those who have headed into "elementary occupations" – such as cleaning, roadsweeping, labouring, working in the school meals service and hospital portering – rose from 5,460 in 2006/7 to 10,270 last year.
In addition, the proportion of graduates estimated to be unemployed six months after leaving university has soared in that time, from 5 per cent to 9 per cent.
The figures, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, came as separate statistics revealed an increase in the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training, from 7.5 per cent in 2010 to 8.1 per cent in 2011.
Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, said: "The future for these youngsters looks increasingly bleak. With so many people chasing a declining number of jobs, those fresh out of school with no work experience behind them are losing out every time to more experienced job seekers."