Majority of UK graduates are 'working in a job that doesn't require a university degree', new survey finds

2015 graduates are more confident about working life than their 2013 and 2014 counterparts

Aftab Ali
Tuesday 14 July 2015 00:23
Students at the University of Birmingham take part in their degree congregations as they graduate on 14 July 2011 in Birmingham, England
Students at the University of Birmingham take part in their degree congregations as they graduate on 14 July 2011 in Birmingham, England

More than half of UK graduates are working in a job they believe does not even require a degree, a new survey has found.

The UK Graduate Employment Survey by the Accenture Strategy polled 1,000 students who are graduating this year and another 1,000 who graduated in 2013 and 2014.

60 per cent of 2013/2014 group said they were under-employed or working in a job that does not require a degree – a contrast to the views of this year’s graduates of whom 77 per cent said they feel their education has prepared them well for the world of work.

While only 16 per cent of this year’s graduates say they expect to earn £19,000-a-year or less in their first job, a quarter the of 2013 and 2014 graduates, however, say they have an income in that range.

The main results gathered by the survey

72 per cent of the 2015 group said they expect to find full-time work, but only 58 per cent of the other group say they have been able to secure full-time positions.

Finally, 80 per cent of 2015 graduates considered the availability of jobs in their intended field before choosing their university course – yet only 55 per cent of 2013 and 2014 graduates are currently working in their chosen field.

Managing director of the Accenture Strategy, Payal Vasudeva, said this year’s graduates are highly resourceful in making themselves relevant to employers.

She added: “They expect good work opportunities and employer provided training, but many remain underemployed and dissatisfied with their work situation.

“As a result, a large number aim to return to university or college to position themselves for better jobs.”

In their quest to look for their dream job, 28 per cent of this year’s graduates said they’d look abroad for work – compared with only 19 per cent from 2013/14.

While 40 per cent of the 2015 group said they would take an unpaid internship if a job was not available, Ms Vasudeva issued a stark warning to companies: “Employers who fail to create career development programs and a clear path for advancement are missing a tremendous opportunity to attract and retain top talent.”

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