The number of graduates who expect to go into graduate-level jobs after university has fallen by a third since 1998.
Only 36% of the 16,000 graduates, surveyed by High Fliers Research, said they expected to start graduate-level jobs when they left university. This is down from 49% in 1998.
Martin Birchill, director of High Fliers, said the findings would be a huge disappointment to the government.
“The government’s controversial introduction of top-up tuition fees and the much-publicised aim of growing the number of school leavers who go on to university both rely on there being a well-paid graduate jobs so that the students can repay the substantial costs of their studies after graduation – something the class of 2005 evidently has little confidence in,” he said.
The most popular jobs for graduates are in teaching and the media, both of which attracted 12.7% of all applications.
The survey also found that the largest increase in applications from graduates was to the police. Fifty seven per cent more people applied to the police than did in 2003.
Actuarial work proved less popular with the number of applicants falling by 19%.