OVER HALF OF UK GRADUATES STUCK IN NON-GRADUATE JOBS – YET GREEDY UNIVERSITIES CONTINUE TO BOOST STUDENT INTAKE
Britain is failing to create enough high-skilled jobs for its growing population of university graduates – and could be heading for a new graduate jobs crisis as graduate debt soars and the number of young people enrolling at university hits a record high this year following the removal of a cap on student numbers.
In a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), politicians and universities are being urgently asked to address the ‘mismatch’ between the number of university leavers and the jobs appropriate to their skills. The problem has left the UK with more than half of its graduates in non-graduate jobs, one of the highest rates in Europe.
The CIPD – the trade group for the human resources sector – said graduate over-qualification has reached “saturation point” and is squeezing lower qualified workers out of jobs, and too many degrees were being “wasted” as graduates are forced to take jobs that don’t require a degree.
CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese challenged the logic of increasing the number of university places without paying attention to the number of graduate jobs available, echoing discussion that regularly takes place among readers of Graduate Fog. He also appeared to question the removal of the cap on student numbers, which came into effect this summer (something Graduate Fog has concerns about too). Cheese said:
“The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed.
“Simply increasing the qualification level of individuals going into a job does not typically result in the skill required to do the job being enhanced – in many cases that skills premium, if it exists at all, is simply wasted. This situation is unsustainable given that the government estimates that 45% of university graduates will not earn enough to repay their student loans.”
Graduate over-qualification appears to be a particular problem for the UK. The report’s authors said the UK has the second highest graduation rate in the OECD group of mainly advanced economies, at 54%, with only Iceland having a higher rate. By comparison, Germany has a graduation rate of just 31%.
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