Half of graduates and students plan to look for work unrelated to their degree discipline to ensure they get a job, with four in 10 expecting less pay than they originally hoped for.
A survey of 300 graduates and students from UK universities by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found ongoing job security was the joint top concern for respondents, with a third believing employment conditions will not improve for two years.
However, despite the credit crunch and swathes of redundancies in the City, the banking and financial services sector remains the top preference for jobs among graduates.
Sonja Stockton, PwC head of student recruitment, said: "For such an overwhelming number of students and graduates to be concerned about their job prospects emphasises the need for students to think as early as possible about their options.
"In a tight jobs market, students need to examine how their non-academic skills can combine with a good-quality degree to make their application and experience distinctive."