Thousands of graduates stuck in cleaning, shelf-stacking and road sweeping jobs

Sobering new stats on graduate employment reveal thousands are in unskilled jobs, and even more are unemployed

• Thousands of grads working as shelf-stackers and road sweepers
• 18,000 graduates still unemployed six months after graduation
• Arts and Humanities most likely to be in menial jobs or unemployed

Thousands of grads are stuck in menial jobs such cleaning, shelf-stacking and road sweeping according to shocking new data on graduate employment.

The new figures, published by The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), reveal that a huge eighteen per cent of British uni graduates have not found a job after six months.

And 10,000 of those who did manage to bag a job are working in customer service and “elementary” occupations.

Over a quarter of graduates have taken up non-professional jobs such as factory work, shelf stacking, cleaning and road sweeping, that don’t even require a degree.

Sales and customer service jobs are the most popular of the unskilled jobs – with eight percent of uni leavers finding themselves in this area.

And it’s arts and humanities students who are the worst affected. According to the stats 75% of those who studied science subjects at university are in professional jobs, compared to 55% of arts and humanities graduates.

Ten per cent of arts and humanities students found themselves working in menial roles. But only five percent of science graduates have found themselves stuck in jobs such as cleaning, shelf-staking and road sweeping.

Unsurprisingly, medical and dentistry students are the least likely to experience unemployment after graduation.

So it looks like an undergraduate degree is no longer the head start that it once was in the professional world. Now, many graduates are stranded in menial jobs that do not require a degree after struggling to land a heavily over-subscribed professional job.

Jack is a Biochemistry graduate from Imperial College London, which offers one of the best employment rates in the UK, but is still struggling to find professional work. He told The Tab: “I’m looking into jobs at Caffè Nero and TK Maxx after getting firsts in eight of my thirteen finals and my dissertation.”

“I swear half my uni course are looking into bar or shop work .If I wanted to do that I’d have finished my education six years ago and saved a lot of hassle. What is my 2.1 even worth?

Not sure which I’ll get first, graduate employment or male pattern baldness.”

But Jack is just one of many graduates failing to land a decent job. Zoe, a Geography graduate from Manchester, told The Tab:  “Everyone’s moving to big cities to get decent jobs, but there aren’t enough.” 

Ariel, a History and Economics grad from the University of Leeds, has called the current job market “an absolute pisstake”.

Some students aren’t as alarmed by the new statistics. Pierre, a Mechanical Engineering graduate from Exeter thinks there are several reasons why unemployment is so high. He said: “A lot of people want to travel or relax and try new things right after leaving uni.” 

“To be fair, science grads generally have industry specific knowledge, so I think it makes sense. Most arts students go into a broad range of areas which is why there are no guarantees for jobs and why competition is so high”. 

Tom ‘Three Degrees’ Jenkin (right) at his first graduation

And these sobering statistics provide yet another excuse for panicked uni leavers to opt for a Masters course.

The report shows that fourteen per cent of students go onto further education after their undergrad degrees, and Tom, who did two postgraduate degrees, is one of them. He said: “I didn’t want to join the real world so I did a postgrad, which I then realized was an unwise decision. So I had to do another masters to rectify this.”

On the other hand, Rob from UEA will soon start the process of applying for Ph.D’s because, as he put it: “Everyone and their dog has a 2.1 these days.”