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Almost half of graduates take non-graduate employment, new figures reveal

Nearly half of recent graduates are employed in “non-graduate” jobs, new national figures show.

Data published by the Office for National Statistics also reveals that arts graduates in particular struggle to find graduate-level employment.

A report on the findings, Graduates in the UK labour market 2013, reveals that 47 per cent of graduates who had left full time education in the last five years were working in “non-graduate roles” which do not require a higher education qualification.

However, the report also shows that graduates do stand a better chance of being employed than their less well qualified peers.

This year, 87 per cent of graduates were employed – compared with 83 per cent of those educated to A Level standard, and 47 per cent of those without qualifications.

The most common areas of employment for graduates were public administration, education, health, banking and finance - with 62 per cent of graduates finding work in these areas.

Graduates from the most selective universities earn significantly more on average than those from other universities. The average hourly wage for Russell Group graduates was £18.60 – compared to £14.97 for other university graduates.

The news follows analysis by the Financial Times revealing that those graduating in 2011-2012 earn 12 per cent less than those who left university before the financial crash.

The drop in earnings comes alongside a nine per cent fall in graduate jobs available at top firms – while there has also been a 60 per cent rise in student debt since 2008.

The ONS report also shows that the proportion of people in the UK holding a university degree hit an all time high this year – with graduates now making up 38 per cent of the nation’s population.

There were 12 million graduates in the UK in 2013, following a steady increase in numbers over the last decade.