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Fifth of new graduates unemployed

Data published by the Office for National Statistics has revealed that one in five new graduates is out of work, while many more are being forced to take jobs that do not require a degree.

Graduates still seeking employment

Data published by the Office for National Statistics has revealed that one in five new graduates is out of work, while many more are being forced to take jobs that do not require a degree.

In the final three months of last year, one in three people (35.9%) who completed their degree in the last six years was working in a role that was suitable for a school leaver. This is up from around one in four (26.7%) who were employed in lower skilled jobs in 2001.

"Higher-skill jobs generally require competence through post-compulsory education whereas lower-skill jobs tend to require competence only through compulsory education," the report explains.

It adds that graduates typically have higher employment rates than non-graduates. In the final quarter of 2011, 86% of all graduates were in work, compared with 72.3% of those without a degree.

The ONS also looked at the wages of graduates, and found that medical and science degrees pay the highest. The typical hourly earnings for all graduates aged 21 to 64 throughout 2011 was £15.18. In comparison, non-graduates typically earned an hourly wage of £8.92.

Those with a degree in medicine or dentistry had typical hourly earnings of £21.29, while those with an arts degree had the lowest at £12.06.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The recession has hit the job prospects of recent graduates but they are still nearly 20% more likely to be in work than people without degrees. A lack of high-quality jobs has forced more graduates into lower-skilled jobs over the last decade.”

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