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Overqualified graduates saturate high-skill jobs market

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Job over-qualification is reaching ‘saturation point’ as more university graduates are entering jobs that do not require a degree, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The report finds that the number of graduates is outstripping the creation of high-skilled jobs. This is leading to negative effects in the labour market such as:

  • employers requiring degrees for traditionally non-graduate positions
  • graduates replacing non-graduates in jobs that did not previously require university education.

The UK has the second highest graduation rate among developed economies (54%) and 58.8% of these are currently occupying non-graduate job roles.

The CIPD is calling on the government to:

  • focus its productivity strategy on generating more high-skilled jobs, enhancing career progression routes and increasing investment in workforce development
  • launch a review into how investment in initial, higher and further education can be used most effectively for learners, employers and the economy
  • continue to increase the number of higher and advanced level apprenticeships.

Employers can also take practical steps to ensure that they are getting the most out of their skilled workers by:

  • reviewing their recruitment strategies to ensure they are not automatically disqualifying those without degrees
  • engaging with local schools and colleges to create more routes into work for young people
  • build their leadership and management capacity to create more opportunities for employees.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said:

“We need to start a national debate about how to generate more high-skilled jobs which means organisations investing more in developing their leadership and management capability, building more progression routes and improving work organisation and job design so that people’s ideas and skills are used more effectively in the workplace.

“The government needs to ensure its productivity plan includes a specific focus on creating more high-skilled jobs and work with employers, particularly SMEs, and with key stakeholders like Local Enterprise Partnerships and Business Growth Hubs to help build organisations’ capability to achieve this.”

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