The 'under-employment' crisis: Nearly half of recent graduates work jobs which don't require a degree

Under-employment is a "massive waste" of skills investment, says expert

Almost half of recent graduates are in jobs which do not need a higher education background, new figures have shown.

An expert said the level of under-employment revealed a "massive waste" of investment in skills.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there had been an upward trend in the proportion of recent graduates working in non-graduate jobs - up from 37 per cent in 2001 to 47 per cent this year, with most of the increase happening since the 2008/09 recession.

The figures also revealed that almost nine out of 10 graduates were in work, compared to an employment rate of 83 per cent for those educated to A-level standard, 76 per cent for GCSE, 70 per cent for other qualifications and 47 per cent for those with no qualifications.

Annual earnings for graduates increase at a faster pace as they become older, before levelling out in their late 30s at a median level of £35,000 a year, well above those without a degree, the study found.

People with a degree in medicine or dentistry had the highest employment rate of all graduates at 95 per cent , followed by those with media and information studies degrees (93 per cent), although pay rates varied.

Medical graduates had the highest median pay at £45,600, while media and information studies graduates had the lowest, at £21,000.

Dr John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, said: "The pre-recession rates of underemployment of graduate skills in the UK economy were already disappointing - the post-recession rates represent an alarming jump in under-employment and a massive waste of investment in skills."

Steve Radley, director of policy at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "Today's figures show that graduates have not escaped the squeeze on pay but they also highlight the major impact that subject choices have on earnings. Graduates in engineering are the second highest earners and those in physical sciences earn far beyond average also.

"We need a concerted effort to get more young people studying the science and engineering degrees that will drive our economy forward and more of them taking up well paid opportunities."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "While university leavers are still better paid and more likely to have a job than non-graduates of the same age, their prospects are worsening, just as their debts are soaring.

"Having got themselves tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt, nearly half of all recent graduates are doing lower-skilled jobs. This is in turn pushing young people who don't have a degree out of work altogether.

"The Government's approach of making young people pay more to get less from higher education is deeply unfair and makes no economic sense. Ministers should admit that 'any old job' is not good enough for heavily-indebted graduates and start prioritising high-quality job creation."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Marketing & Social Media Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Marketing Graduate or...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Services Graduate Training Scheme

£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a successful and establ...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border