Despite what Osborne says, many people with degrees are being forced to take low-skilled roles away from their expertise.
One of the many things George Osborne is likely to hail in his autumn statement on Thursday is the long-awaited recovery in Britain’s jobs market.
Unemployment is falling and companies enjoying resurgent demand are creating jobs that, in some areas at least, will fill the gap left by swingeing public sector cuts. But all that is likely to come as little relief to the swelling ranks of university leavers who have failed to secure a graduate level job. Nearly half of recent graduates are in non-graduate roles such as receptionist or sales assistant. A third are working in a low-skilled job and almost a tenth are unemployed, according to the latest official statistics.
For students spending an average £8,000 a year in tuition fees, the prospect of ending up in bar work or on a factory floor is a grim one – but by no means remote. The rise in those failing to get a graduate role, to 47% this year from 37% in 2001, reflects a steady increase in the number of graduates over the past 10 years and a drop in the number of jobs available generally during and since the recession.