More than one third of students who start work when they finish their degree end up in non-graduate jobs, from stacking shelves to answering phones in call centres, new figures reveal.
Research compiled for the Guardian by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that 38 per cent of those who entered work in 2003 were in “non-graduate” employment six months after finishing their course.
The figures contrast with statements by the higher education minister, Kim Howells, who earlier this month declared it was a “good time to be a graduate” after the government published research showing that 93 per cent of students went into full-time employment or education.
The research shows that, after six months, only 12 per cent of graduates had gone into “traditional” graduate occupations, including medicine, higher education and science; 13 per cent had gone into “modern” graduate jobs such as management and information technology and 16 per cent had “new” graduate jobs, including marketing and sales management.
A further 21 per cent had found work in the “niche graduate” sector which includes leisure and sports management.
Gareth Clement, who graduated with a 2:2 in social policy from Cardiff University and has an MSc in human resource management, told the Guardian: “Looking back I don’t think either qualification has really helped me get a job.
“When I finished my masters last year I applied for a few graduate jobs but didn’t get them. I ended up working in a temporary job which was badly paid and pretty stressful before deciding to pack it in and go to Japan to teach English.”