Policy Report

Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market

This information is available for download

Format Title File size

Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market

Published August 2015

File size:
203 KB

Download the 'Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market' pdf 203 KB, over-qualification-and-skills-mismatch-graduate-labour-market.pdf. Opens in a new window.

About this download

In recent decades the UK’s higher education sector has expanded rapidly, but the increase in the number of graduates has not been matched by an increase in high-skilled jobs. Many graduates are finding themselves working in jobs that would in previous generations have been filled by non-graduates. 

Comparisons across Europe suggest that graduate over-qualification is a particular problem for the UK, with 58.8% of UK graduates in non-graduate jobs – a percentage only exceeded by Greece and Estonia. 

The CIPD commissioned this report to examine the available evidence on the extent to which graduates are over-qualified and over-skilled for the current labour market and the ways in which the labour market and occupations may have adapted to the growing supply of graduates. 

The report suggests a range of interpretations of the available data, but the findings raise questions about the size of the HE sector in relation to our labour market needs and reinforce calls for investment in alternative routes into work for young people. 

“What we observe in much of the labour market is that graduates are successful in finding jobs that require more skills, but we do not find that when a graduate and a non-graduate find themselves in the same occupation, the former necessarily has some advantage over the latter.” 

Content of the report 

  • Introduction 
  • The European context 
  • Evidence of graduate over-skilling and over-qualification in Europe 
  • New evidence on job upgrading in the UK 
  • Conclusions 
  • References

Join in the debate and read the blog post


Outlook series

Draws on a range of perspectives and offers unique insight and commentary on workplace issues.