Britain’s graduates face an increasingly challenging jobs market, with 40% failing to get graduate-calibre posts more than two years after leaving education, around twice the proportion of their peers a decade earlier, according to a study of recent ex-students’ career paths.
Overall, the vaunted graduate salary premium, a key argument in persuading would-be students to rack up significant debt to pay for a university education, has declined by as much as 2% a year compared with average national earnings over the past 10 years, the Futuretrack survey found.
The research has worrying implications for social mobility, finding that non-white graduates are significantly more likely to experience unemployment, while the chance of being in a non-graduate job rises for those whose parents do not have degrees.
The study by Warwick University’s Institute for Employment Research, funded by £1.1m from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, tracked 17,000 people from the moment they began applying for higher education courses due to start in autumn 2006 into the winter of 2011-12, gathering information on their views and prospects four times in that period. The same institute did a similar if less comprehensive study of graduates in 1999, allowing researchers to make comparisons.
The findings reflect the recession of recent years and the continued increase in the numbers of graduates leaving British universities and colleges. But perhaps less predictable is the prevailing optimism, with two-thirds of those in the study hopeful about their long-term prospects and an overwhelming 96% saying they were glad to have taken a degree.
“It’s a good news, bad news story,” said Kate Purcell, a professor at the institute with a sociology background, who led the study with her colleague Professor Peter Elias, an economist and statistician. “The good news is that most of them say they’d do it again. That’s quite extraordinary. Most are quite optimistic, rightly or wrongly, about their long-term prospects. But the short term, unequivocal fact is that there’s much higher graduate unemployment than there has been and there’s much more incidence of people doing jobs which are clearly not jobs that use their skills and qualifications.”…
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The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work. A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge. Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — … Continue reading »
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