There is an apparent inconsistency in the existing literature on graduate employment in the UK. While analyses of rates of return to graduates or graduate mark-ups show high returns, suggesting that demand has kept up with a rapidly rising supply of graduates, the literature on over-education suggests that many graduates are unable to find employment in graduate jobs and the proportion over-educated has risen over time. Using a simple supply and demand model applied to UK data that defines graduate jobs in terms of the proportion of graduates and/or the graduate earnings mark-up within occupations, we find that there has been a shift in the likelihood of young British university graduates being employed in non-graduate jobs in the recent years of our analysis. This finding is in contrast to existing studies.
Published: May 2014