No jobs for graduates, even three years after university

GraduatesMore than a quarter of graduates do not have a full-time job even three and a half years after leaving university, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Their figures show a whopping 115,000 youngsters who graduated in 2007 are either still in education, are unemployed or have a part-time job which doesn't match their qualifications.

The research follows the news that the number of 16-24-year-olds not in employment, education or training reached almost one million, and a study which revealed one in five graduates earn less than school leavers with one A level. It's certainly news which will raise even further debate over the sharp increase in tuition fees from £3,290 to £9,000 next year.

President of the National Union of Students, Liam Burns accused the government of 'risking damaging a generation of young people'.

Mr Burns said; 'times are tough for young people at the moment with rising unemployment no matter how well qualified they are. The postcode lottery of financial support for students risks many turning to expensive commercial debt while they study. If jobs aren't available on graduation, things like overdrafts and commercial loans become incredibly toxic.

'Whilst this difficult jobs market persists, the Government should be working to open more training and learning opportunities to young people like they have done with apprenticeships, and urgently commit to put more money in students' pockets.'

The HESA statistics - which were based on a survey of 49,065 students who graduated in 2007 - found 27.7 percent were not in full-time paid work three and a half years later. Of these, 8.8 percent were in part time paid or voluntary and unpaid work, 5.3 per cent were working and studying, and 6.5 percent were just studying. A total of 3.6 per cent were assumed to be unemployed, while 3 per cent were not available for jobs.

With unemployment rates rising more generally, graduates face the highest level of unemployment in a decade - previous surveys showed that 2.3 percent of those who graduated in 2003 were assumed to be unemployed three and a half years later, as were 2.6 percent who graduated in 2005.

Going to a leading university is still important though - the statistics revealed that graduates of elite Russell Group universities were more likely to get a job than those at lower ranking institutions.

Some graduates seemed to be disappointed with their university experience: A fifth of those questioned (21.5 percent) said they did not think that university had prepared them for their career, with 6.4 percent saying it had not prepared them at all. More shockingly, around one in ten did not think their degree course was good value for money.

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