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A further 55,000 were forced to take whatever they could get with many stacking supermarket shelves or working in bars.
And with cuts to the public sector on their way, the situation isn't likely to get better any time soon. Graduate unemployment rose by one per cent to 8.9 per cent in 2009, it's highest rate since 1992.
The number of young workers securing graduate-level jobs also fell by 3.3 per cent last year, leaving one in three either on the dole or grabbing any job they could lay their hands on.
Hardest hit were those in IT, while construction and engineering jobs were also scarce and media studies graduates struggled to find work.
The Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) report warns that further cuts to public spending could have a "significant effect" particularly affecting those outside the capital.
Meanwhile the National Union of Students said: "These latest figures show that students are graduating into the bleakest employment market for decades."
Though applications for degree courses starting next year have risen by 4.2 per cent, the likely increase in tuition fees and the prospect of leaving university with £80,000 debts, along with the bleak employment outlook, will surely put many of young people off higher education altogether.
What do you think? Will university once again become the privilege of the wealthy few? Leave your comments below...