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More graduates feeling underemployed

There has been a marked increase in the number feeling underutilised in the last two years

Seven in 10 (71%) recent graduates feel underemployed or underutilised in a graduate-level role, according to the 2017 UK University Graduate Employment Study by Accenture Strategy.

When the annual survey was conducted in 2015 only 60% of graduates felt underemployed, showing a marked rise in the past two years. This year’s survey, which polled 1,001 students graduating from university in 2017 and entering the job market, found that 85% expected to earn more than £25,000. But only 70% of 2015/16 graduates did.

However, graduates were hopeful that their degrees would lead to a job in their chosen field, with 63% stating they expected a full-time role once they left university. Around 60% of the most recent graduates had scored such a position, up from just 42% in 2015. When it came to further training beyond their course, graduates expected to have on-the-job training (54%), formal training (51%), or shadowing (46%) in their first job.

Graduates were found to be willing to relocate for their preferred position, with 83% claiming to be happy to move for work.

The current economy will likely have 2017 graduates looking in a different city for a job (39%), or commuting further (36%). After landing a job most 2017 grads (85%) expected to stay in position for at least two years.

Payal Vasudeva, managing director of Accenture Strategy, said businesses should be trying to understand how to better motivate grads. “The proportion of graduates who feel that they are underemployed increased again this year – up to 71% from 60% in 2015,” she said.

“Paradoxically, this is set against a backdrop of more grads being employed full time in their field of study, up from 46% to 60% over the past 12 months. This highlights a need for companies to understand what motivates Gen Z graduates and provide a meaningful employee experience for them.’’