Last updated: 17.09.15

Many UK graduates in non-graduate roles

The majority of UK university graduates are working in jobs that don't require a degree, according to a new report.

Commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the report - entitled 'Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market' - found that 58.8 per cent of graduates are working in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, 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."

Mr Cheese highlights the government's estimate of 45 per cent of university graduates not going on to earn enough to be able to pay back their student loans, adding that it is crucial for higher education systems to deliver desired returns for graduates, organisations and society.

The report also revealed that the number of graduates outweighs the growth of high-skilled jobs. This led to a negative impact on employment, with graduates replacing non-graduates despite no change to the skills needed for a specific role.

This was seen particularly among the manufacturing and construction sectors, where traditionally, apprenticeships were a way into the industry.

Mr Cheese added: "We need to start a national debate about how to generate more high-skilled jobs, which means organisations investing more in developing their leadership and management capability, building more progression routes and improving work organisation and job design so that people’s ideas and skills are used more effectively in the workplace.

"The government needs to ensure its productivity plan includes a specific focus on creating more high-skilled jobs and work with employers, particularly SMEs, and with key stakeholders like Local Enterprise Partnerships and Business Growth Hubs to help build organisations' capability to achieve this."

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