In recent decades the UK’s higher education sector has expanded rapidly, but the increase in the number of graduates has not been matched by an increase in high-skilled jobs. Many graduates are finding themselves working in jobs that would in previous generations have been filled by non-graduates.
Comparisons across Europe suggest that graduate over-qualification is a particular problem for the UK, with 58.8% of UK graduates in non-graduate jobs – a percentage only exceeded by Greece and Estonia.
The CIPD commissioned this report to examine the available evidence on the extent to which graduates are over-qualified and over-skilled for the current labour market and the ways in which the labour market and occupations may have adapted to the growing supply of graduates.
The report suggests a range of interpretations of the available data, but the findings raise questions about the size of the HE sector in relation to our labour market needs and reinforce calls for investment in alternative routes into work for young people.
Read the subsequent research: Alternative pathways into the labour market
Understand what we mean by skills in the workplace, UK skill levels and the government’s skills policy.
Read the CIPD’s November 2023 submission to His Majesty’s Treasury
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