Out Of Work Graduates Paid More Than School Leavers, But Still Settling For Lower-Skill Jobs
One in five new graduates is out of work, while many more are being forced to take jobs that do not require a degree, official figures show.
However the unemployment rate among graduates has dipped from a peak of 20.5% to 18.9% since the recession.
More graduates are now willing to settle for lower skilled roles, than in 2001, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics.
Statistics from the final three months of 2011, showed that one in three people (35.9%) who completed their degree in the last six years was working in a role that was suitable for a school leaver.
This is up from around one in four (26.7%) who were employed in lower skilled jobs in 2001.
"Higher-skill jobs generally require competence through post-compulsory education whereas lower-skill jobs tend to require competence only through compulsory education," the report explains.
However graduates are more likely to be in work than those who chose not to go to university. In the final quarter of 2011, 86% of all graduates were in work, compared with 72.3% of those without a degree.
Medical and science degrees were shown to pay the highest dividends. However the data showed that per hour, graduates got paid almost double what non graduates earn with the typical hourly earnings for all graduates aged 21 to 64 throughout 2011 was £15.18.
In comparison, non-graduates typically earned an hourly wage of £8.92.
Those with a degree in medicine or dentistry had typical hourly earnings of £21.29, while those with an arts degree had the lowest at £12.06.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said graduates were being forced into low-skilled jobs because of the recession: "The recession has hit the job prospects of recent graduates but they are still nearly 20% more likely to be in work than people without degrees.
"A lack of high-quality jobs has forced more graduates into lower-skilled jobs over the last decade.
"Raising the skills of UK workers must be accompanied with an industrial strategy focused on boosting high-value industries such as manufacturing. Otherwise public investment in education and the talents of UK graduates will be wasted."
Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said the figures made "grim reading": "These figures will understandably make grim reading for many students and graduates who see their opportunities limited, but the expansion of higher education and long-term investment in our future is infinitely preferable to a growing dole queue and a higher benefits bill."
Tanya de Grunwald, founder of GraduateFog.co.uk said it was a "tough time" to be a graduate: "Every day I hear from graduates desperately struggling to find work. Most are searching high and low and would take anything offered. Some even delete their degree from their CV to boost their chances of getting jobs in pubs and cafes. More often than not, employers don't even bother to write and tell them they haven't got the job - they simply never hear back."