Report Finds an Increased Proportion of UK Graduates in Overqualified Roles

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has proposed a review of the skilled employment policies of the UK particularly as regards the exigent need for augmented career advice and access to apprenticeship opportunities for younger people.

This comes after a report revealed that 36% of graduates in the UK are overqualified for their roles. A growing number of these graduates end up with employment in low skilled jobs. The report is based on research conducted by the CIPD. CIPD is a professional body for HR and people development.

The CIPD report is titled: What is the scale and impact of graduate overqualification in the UK?

The report examines the changes in the graduate outcomes over the past three decades in the United Kingdom. The research details that the proportion of UK graduates in low/medium skilled jobs has doubled in the past thirty years.

The report also shows that overqualified graduates have lower levels of job and life satisfaction and exude lower enthusiasm over their job and are more likely to reign in comparison to graduates matching their skill level

The report proposes the need for a recalibration of policies relating to skills as well as improved quality of career counselling in schools. Furthermore, it recommends the reformation og Apprenticeship Levy in a bid to incentivise employers to offer more apprentice roles to young people. It also calls on renewed commitment to the development of an industrial strategy to create more high-skilled jobs.

The following were the observations detailed in the report based on a survey and analysis of official statistics:

• A notable increase in the proportion of graduates working in administrative and clerical/service occupations since 1992, including; a rise in graduates working as bank or post office clerks (3% to 30%) and as personal assistants and other secretaries (4% to 22%). It also shows an increase in graduates working as bar staff (3% to 19%) and security guards (2% to 24%) over the same period.

• Overqualified graduates have lower job and life satisfaction. Just over half (54%) of overqualified graduates report being either very satisfied or satisfied with their current jobs, compared to nearly three-quarters (72%) of well-matched graduates.

• In all, 56% of overqualified graduates say they are satisfied with their lives compared to 69% of well-matched graduates.

• A quarter (25%) of graduates who feel overqualified say that they are likely, or very likely, to quit their job voluntarily in the next 12 months, compared to 17% of well-matched graduates.

• Almost half (45%) of overqualified graduates feel they don’t get paid appropriately, compared to 28% of well-matched graduates. 30% of overqualified graduates earn less than £20,000 per annum, versus 8% of well-matched graduates.

The rates of overqualification have been found to be somewhat stable across most age bands. This suggests that a poor initial skills match when entering the labour market as a younger fresh graduate could have lasting impacts on the career trajectory and income profile of an individual. The report recommends that taking employment in non-graduate roles could end up being a long term option for a graduate as opposed to a short term phase.

Lizzie Crowley, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, said:

“While graduate-level qualifications are undoubtedly essential in many roles and industries, the significant growth of graduates in non-graduate jobs is damaging for individuals, employers and the economy. A growing number of graduates are stuck in low-skilled jobs, while employers find it harder to motivate and retain overqualified graduates, undermining workplace productivity.

“Successive Governments’ focus on boosting the supply of higher-level qualifications to the labour market has failed to create nearly enough of the high-skill, high-wage jobs that the country needs. There needs to be a fundamental rethink on UK skills policy as part of a new focus on industrial strategy, to create more high-skilled and quality jobs across the economy.

“In particular we need better careers advice and guidance in schools so young people can make more informed choices about what to study, whether they should go to university or seek an apprenticeship or a vocational qualification. There is also an urgent need to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, to incentivise employers to provide more apprenticeships for young people so they have a genuine alternative to university.”

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