Graduates are Stealing Jobs from School-Leavers

ST Edition 2 - Article 4

By Bethany Tourish

Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market is bad for students and employers, suggest CIPD.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) are urging the government to end the drive to get more young people into higher education.

This has come after new research shows graduates are “colonising” jobs in banking, ed-ucation, the police and estate agency which were traditionally occupied by school-leavers. The CIPD claim that the increase in graduates cannot be justified given student debt and the careers that many end up pursuing.

More than half of university graduates are taking non-graduate jobs meaning school-leavers are being overlooked for jobs that do not require a degree.

Successive governments and have justified their focus by claiming that graduates have higher life-time earnings which compensates for student loans and living expenses.

But the CIPD claim that the so-called graduate premium is being called into question by gradu-ates’ average debt  of £44,000 and official estimations that 45% of loans would never be paid off.

The CIPD’s study of 29 occupations employing almost a third of the UK’s workforce found that 35% of bank and post office clerks have degrees and 43.9% of police officers entering the force at the rank of sergeant or below have a university qualification.

Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, said “Governments of all colours have long had a ‘conveyor belt’ approach to university education, with a rhetoric that has encouraged more and more students to pursue graduate qualifications”.

“Graduates are increasingly finding themselves in roles which don’t meet their career expectations, while they also find themselves saddled with high levels of debt. This ‘graduatisation’ of the labour market also has negative consequences for non-graduates, who find themselves being overlooked for jobs just because they have not got a degree, even if a degree is not needed to do the job.

“Finally, this situation is also bad for employers and the economy as this type of qualifi-cation and skills mismatch is associated with lower levels of employee engagement and loyalty, and will undermine attempts to boost productivity.”} else {