There are around one million undergraduate-level jobs in the UK filling them without qualified staff, according to a report from universities which predicts that labor market appetite for graduates will remain strong in the near future.
Using data from government sources, a report published by Universities UK found that 15 million people with degrees or equivalent qualifications were working in the UK by the end of 2020 – and around 16 million managerial and professional professions were defined as graduate-level jobs.
Statistics are backed by data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which shows that while 14% of the UK workforce is over-qualified for their current jobs – including graduates working in non-graduate professions – more than 27% fulfill their classified bachelor-level role. “Ineligible” with graduate.
The UUK report is an attempt to dispel misconceptions about graduate employment, such as the value of a bachelor’s degree may be low or many graduates unable to find skilled employment.
But demand for graduates was high during the Kovid epidemic, according to the Institute for Student Employers. It says the number of vacancies is now 20% higher than before the epidemic in 2019. Compared to 2021, job vacancies for graduates are expected to increase again this year
Professor Steve West, President of the UUK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE-Bristol, said: “Despite some questions about the value of graduate skills, this report shows that the employer demand for UK graduates is significant – it is increasing every year and will probably grow in the future.
“It is important that the UK government creates the right conditions for universities to fully support business growth and skills development for students of all ages. To put it bluntly, this means that the UK government must invest in a sustainable long-term funding for higher education. “
The UK’s higher education minister, Michelle Donnelly, said the figures show just how important higher education and skills are to the UK’s future.
Donellan said the government was pushing for “the biggest reform in post-18 education in England in a decade”. “Our goal is to further improve graduation outcomes and increase quality to provide the highest quality education for students of all walks of life,” he said.
Recent proposals by the government include increasing the cost of graduate student loans for students in England, so that lower and middle-income people can find an additional 30,000 to pay off their loans from next year.
The government is also advocating for the introduction of the minimum GCSE grade required to qualify for student loans, which critics say will make some school-dropers largely barred from pursuing higher education from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The UUK report shows that the number of UK workers in occupational occupations increased by 647,200 in 2020, while those in other roles fell by 817,000 in the first year of the epidemic.
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Student Employers Institute, said: “The demand for skilled graduates is only growing in the short and long term. To ensure employers have access to the talents they need across the UK economy, it’s important that we continue to invest in graduate talent. “