Graduates struggle to find degree-related jobs, CIPD warns

The high number of graduates moving to unrelated employment will create a generation of debt-ridden workers unable to find graduate-level employment, a new survey by the CIPD has found.

As thousands of final-year students begin to job hunt during the Easter break, the survey, Focus on Graduate Jobs, claims that 59% of employees who graduated in the past two years are not currently working in a field related to the degree they studied.

The survey of 700 graduates, conducted for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) by YouGov, also found that 58% of recent university leavers said they had been unable to find a suitable job, 28% claimed their degree did not equip them with the skills they need for the workforce, 21% chose a new career path post-qualification, and almost one-quarter (24%) had decided to postpone the start of their careers altogether.

Tom Richmond, skills adviser at the CIPD, said: “The rising number of students unable to work in jobs related to subjects they studied at university threatens to create a ‘disillusioned generation’ – unable to find graduate-level employment but saddled with thousands of pounds worth of debt.”

Commenting on the government’s pledge to increase the proportion of young people they want to secure a degree or equivalent qualification to 75%, Richmond continued: “The consequences for future graduate job prospects look bleak indeed if there really is an attempt to nearly double the numbers of graduates in the UK.”

“Government should focus on the needs of learners and employers, and also needs to spend more time and effort developing and promoting the new vocationally-based diplomas for 14- to 19-year-olds.

“This over-promotion of university or equivalent-level study could leave many without the knowledge and skills that will genuinely help them find graduate-level work and apply it in the workplace,” he said.

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