Half of Scots graduates ‘underemployed’, survey suggests

The BBC reports that half of Scots who graduated from university and some college courses in the past five years are working in “non-graduate” jobs, according to the Office for National Statistics.

A survey by the ONS suggested 52% are in jobs which do not require further or higher education qualifications. These include those with qualifications like HNDs and HNCs and higher levels of SVQs through to degree-level and up. The figure for the UK was a whole was 46.4%.

But university leaders say the ONS definition of graduate is too broad. They cite different studies showing that up to 72% of full-time first degree leavers were in posts classified as professional employment six months after graduating from university.

The data also suggest that many of this group may not go on to graduate-level jobs in future, with only about 40% of non-recent graduates – those who graduated more than five years ago – being in graduate jobs in 2016.

The ONS defines non-graduate jobs as those which do not normally require the knowledge and skills devolved through higher education, listing examples including receptionists, sales assistants, many types of factory workers, care workers and home carers.

They cite a report from the University of Warwick which notes concerns about the “growing mismatch between skills and the knowledge developed on degree programmes and the requirements of employers”.

Oliver Newton, policy and research director at the Edge Foundation, said there was “a challenge on both sides of the equation”.

He said: “On the one hand we’re bringing out more graduates than we need in some areas, and on the other some of those graduates don’t necessarily have the skills and work experience that employers are looking for.”

Read more Half of Scots graduates ‘underemployed’, survey suggests

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