The number of graduates unable to find employment three months after graduating has tripled in the past two years, government data has shown.
About 15,000 graduates were unemployed and claiming benefit three months after leaving university in 2005, compared with 5,000 in 2003.
The data, published by the Treasury last week, also showed a 12,000 increase on 2002 figures, where 3,000 recent graduates were unable to find work.
Dr Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said employers were choosing older workers with vocational experience over graduates.
“We are hearing frequently of people graduating with useful, practical qualifications in medicine and physiotherapy who are simply unable to find work,” he said,
“It’s a real worry for young people. Often employers are choosing not to take on these people, but pick older people who already have vocational training.”
UK unemployment figures rose to almost 1.65 million from February to May this year, according to the Office of National Statistics.