University leavers are increasingly taking low-skilled jobs, according to new research. A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that 6 months after graduation around 40% of 2010’s graduates were “underemployed” in lower-skilled jobs, up from about 30% in 2006. The information casts further doubts over the controversial tripling of tuition fees, which provoked mass demonstrations across the country at the end of last year, as well as a spate of university occupations.
The fees hike was justified on the grounds that a degree is an “investment” in a career, and that the £9,000 per year would only be paid back out of earnings. However, studies have shown that due to interest building up on student debt, students could end up paying back double the headline amount. This could mean students being saddled with mortgage-sized debts of between £60,000 and £80,000 for a typical undergraduate degree.
The new report confirms many graduates’ fears that the promised high-paid jobs to make taking on these kind of debts worthwhile simply do not exist for most. And things are predicted to get worse, with 55% of 2011 graduates expected to be in lower-skilled jobs 6 months after graduation. Graduate unemployment has also risen from about 11% in 2007 to 20% for those graduating in 2010.