Preliminary statistics from the 1995 graduate destinations survey show a shift from permanent to temporary employment contracts, say analysts.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency released preliminary statistics for 1995 this week showing that, of the 177,500 first-degree graduates (double the 1992/93 total) whose destinations were known, only 49,400 (28 per cent) found paid, full-time, permament employment in the UK.
The 1992/93 figure, produced by the Universities Statistical Record showed that 45 per cent of the 87,073 first-degree graduates entered permanent employment.
HESA says that, while most of the decline is the result of different methodologies and definitions it and USR used in calculating their respective figures, there is still evidence of a shift to temporary work.
Chief executive Brian Ramsden said: "I think it is fair to say that graduates are increasingly being forced to take short-term jobs in the absence of permanent posts. This reflects a general trend towards temporary contracts."
The preliminary HESA statistics also show that overall there were 234,300 former students, including first-degree graduates, whose destinations were known.
Just over 140,000 (60 per cent) reported their first destination as employment while 48,600 (21 per cent) were continuing their education and 18,000 (8 per cent) were assumed to be unemployed.
Of the 177,500 first-degree graduates (an increase of 103 per cent on 1992/93) whose destinations were known, 36,800 (21 per cent) were continuing their education and 15,200 (9 per cent) were assumed to be unemployed. The 1992/93 survey put first-degree graduate unemployment at 9.5 per cent. Full HESA statistics are due to be published on August 9.
* The Careers Services Unit (CSU) reports that vacancies advertised for graduates are rising faster than the numbers graduating.