In recent decades, the UK’s higher education sector has expanded rapidly, but this rise has not been matched by an increase in high-skilled jobs. This means that many graduates find themselves working in jobs that would have usually been filled by non-graduates.

The CIPD has analysed the latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency on graduate outcomes six months after graduation and reveals that almost half of new graduates are working in non-graduate jobs. The analysis also shines a light on graduate gender pay disparities, with female graduates earning less than their male counterparts even when subject choice and institution are factored in.

Poor graduate outcomes coupled with high and rising student debt calls into question the current tuition fee structure – where almost all universities charge top rate fees – as well as the need for a better balance between academic and vocational provision.

Download the report below

The graduate employment gap

Download the report
PDF document 89.4 KB

More on this topic

Thought leadership
Could mismatch in desired and actual hours worked prompt early labour market exit?

We examine people’s desired hours and how this compares to the hours they actually work

Thought leadership
Stormont is back - but what should it focus on?

What are the priorities for Northern Ireland as its devolved government makes a full return after two years?

Thought leadership
Pay awards set to fall in 2024 as employers set sights on the year ahead

The CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook – Winter 2023-24 reveals falling pay increase expectations for the first time since the pandemic


Explore our related content

Neuroinclusion at work report 2024

Find out about the importance of neuroinclusive workplaces, what employers are doing and the working experiences of neurodivergent and neurotypical employees

Labour Market Outlook

Read our latest Labour Market Outlook report for analysis on employers’ recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions this winter

Menstruation and support at work

This report explores employees’ experiences of menstruation and menstrual health at work and details how employers can develop a supportive culture

Devolution and evolution in UK skills policy

A report seeking common ground in skills policy across the UK’s four nations

All Reports