More than half of UK university graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree, reveals a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
According to the CIPD study, 58.8% of graduates are in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles.
The organisation said the number of graduates had now “significantly outstripped” the creation of high-skilled jobs and that the report’s findings should be a “a wake-up call”.
Chief executive of the CIPD – the professional body for HR managers, Peter Cheese commented: “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.”
The report revealed that the issue was leading to “negative consequences” including employers requesting degrees for traditionally non-graduate roles despite no change to the skills needed for the role.
As a result, it found graduates were now replacing non-graduates in roles and taking jobs where the demand for graduate skills was either non-existent or falling.
The trend was particularly prominent the UK’s manufacturing and construction sectors, where apprenticeships have previously been traditional routes into the industry.
Cheese noted that for many cases, the “skills premium” graduates had “if it exists at all” was being “simply wasted”.
The CIPD said that the findings raise questions about the size of the HE sector in relation to our labour market needs and reinforce calls for investment in alternative routes into work for young people.
It highlighted that for young people, choosing an apprenticeship instead of university could be a “much better choice”.
The body is now calling for a “national debate” over how to generate more high-skilled jobs, stating that government and organisations both needed to act swiftly to help graduates make better use of their skills.