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."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

NQT and Experienced Primary Teachers Urgently required

£90 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: NQT and Experienced Primary Teac...

Upper KS2 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Upper KS2 Primary Teacher...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

KS1 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: KS1 Primary Teacher in Br...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor