Data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a total of 37.2 per cent of UK graduates were working in non-graduate roles on 2017.
The data also reported that 12 per cent of non-graduates aged 22-29 were working in graduate positions in the same year.
Graduate jobs are defined as positions where a degree is the standard entry requirement, and where the tasks involved in the role are seen to require knowledge and skills gained through higher education.
According to the figures, London saw the lowest rate of graduate employment in non-graduate roles, at 28 per cent, but Scotland saw the highest, at 42.2 per cent.
Felix Mitchell, Cambridge graduate and co-founder of graduate recruitment firm Instant Impact, says the problems in graduate employment stems in the mentality of the company: “A lot of companies just don’t think about the people who are applying for jobs with them especially graduates.”
A popular route into graduate jobs are grad schemes, predominantly run by dominating corporations such as PWC, Unilever, and Deloitte, which allow graduates to join a company in an entry level position and float through the different departments until they find what works for them.
Kellen Welch, 21, is a recent graduate, who opted out of a grad schemes, and is unsurprised by how many recent graduates have failed to secure graduate positions: “graduate jobs are so hard to get, and the applications are a chore and take one million years, it’s stressful applying for them.”
Another graduate, Isabella Griffin, 22, agreed with Miss Welch, saying that many grad schemes advertised are for sectors which don’t appeal to her, and she doesn’t want to be associated with one company or organisation immediately after university.
But Mr Mitchell, doesn’t believe that a university degree has lost its value, in spite of how many graduates appear to struggle with finding graduate jobs, as university experience is valuable for personal development.
He says: ” I think that what people are looking for when they look for a graduate as opposed to a non-graduate is often someone that’s been in an environment that gives you an opportunity to mature, to become more confident in yourself, build relationships, and then also to satisfy intellectual curiosity. Because one of the biggest skills that people need from today is the ability to lean quickly, and the desire to do that.”
ONS data has also revealed that there are some young non-graduates who have secured graduate jobs.
One main reason for this is the apprenticeship levy for employer’s with an annual bill of over three million pounds to pay, introduced last spring, and which is used to fund apprenticeship training.
Through apprenticeships, school leavers are able to join companies in the industry they are interested in, gain valuable on-the-job experience, and work their way up through the business.
Miss Welch believes apprenticeships are becoming a more popular option for young people because of high university tuition fees, but thinks companies should make the process of applying for grad schemes easier: “you have to do three tests and an assessment test where you have to redo the tests, and then private interviews.
“So for non-graduates it’s easier to get into bc you don’t go through half of that like you have interview and group interview
Most non-graduates who are in graduate roles are working in sales, HR and retail and wholesale management, with the highest-paid non-graduate roles in skilled trades.