Boom in degrees heralds job shift

August 4, 2000

More graduates will find themselves in non-traditional occupations over the next decade as the supply of highly qualified people looks set to outstrip demand, according to a survey of projected qualifications and occupations by the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University.

While the expansion of higher education will increase the stock of employable graduates by 2.2 million between 1998 and 2009, the IER report predicts that only 2 million new jobs will be created during the same period for individuals educated to degree level or above.

The report, carried out for the National Skills Task Force, finds that "an increasing number of newly qualified persons may find themselves in jobs that they regard as not matching their expectations".

Report editor Robert Wilson said: "Employers are looking for employees with vocational types of training, such as IT, numeracy or the ability to work in a team.

"Some people think that going to university will guarantee them a certain type of job when this is no longer the case," he added.

But most graduates should be certain of finding employment, as they would still take precedence over less well-qualified people in non-traditional areas, Dr Wilson said.

Other predictions include the loss of 750,000 jobs in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors by 2009. But unemployment levels will remain stable because of an increased number of jobs in catering, business, health and education. About 70 per cent of all additional jobs in the next nine years will be filled by women, the report concludes.

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