With record numbers of students attending university, a CIPD report suggests graduates are not often able to find jobs worthy of their degrees...
University education has endured a lot of negative focus in recent years, with record numbers of graduates failing to secure employment following their studies in an extremely competitive job market. Experience is now the sought-after quality, evidenced by the significant percentage of young adults unemployed in Britain today. Nevertheless, the number of students accepted into universities continues to increase, with 409,000 places confirmed for next year.
However, this has led to even more difficulties, with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reporting that 58.8% of graduates are currently in jobs deemed to be non-graduate roles. These are jobs that years ago did not require degrees in application processes, and were more suited to apprenticeships and manual experience.
The number of graduates coming through has accelerated to a rate that far outweighs the creation of highly-skilled jobs. It has led to some negative consequences in the job market, with employers requesting applicants have a degree for roles that previously did not require them, despite the fact that the skill level necessary for such a role has not increased.
“The assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates is proven to be flawed,” said Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD. The body would go on to say that over-qualification is now at “saturation point” and should be a wake-up call for the government.
This has especially proven the case in manufacturing and construction careers, when previously it was expected that an apprenticeship was the more suited path. The CIPD’s report drew the conclusion that students should consider possibly taking an apprenticeship rather than apply to university depending on the role they wish to pursue in future.
These findings are another bitter blow in reducing the significance of university education to finding employment in today’s challenging job market. The fact that certain businesses and sectors have been simply altering job requirements to compensate for this need to validate the importance of universities is equally disheartening, as that helps neither graduates or those that have chosen a different course into employment.
The onus is on the government and business sectors to create more jobs that require a fitting degree. Obviously, this shouldn’t discourage people who wish to go to university, as it is not simply a means to an end with regards to employment. It is also a worthwhile experience to meet new friends, travel to various places and pick up skills outside of your chosen course.
Nevertheless, the end goal is to earn a degree to make you stand out to prospective employers, and if too many students are saturating the market with the same qualifications, it is undoubted that many will look to other avenues to find jobs. Even if this means stepping down to a role that does not make use of your qualification, and this creates a sad scenario where graduates fill up lesser skilled jobs so there’s literally nothing available for those who did not go to university.
Hopefully, this new information from the CIPD does spark to light a serious debate on what can be done to reestablish the tangible appeal to university education in today’s job market.