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Many of Scotland's graduates struggle in harsh job market

Citizens Advice Scotland have today published a major new report showing how Scotland’s graduates have been hit by the recession.  ‘Degrees of Insecurity’ is based on a CAS survey of nearly 1,000 recent Scottish graduates, and reveals that many of them struggle with unemployment or low income jobs as they enter the job market.

Key findings in the survey are:

  • 56.3% said they had been unemployed for a period after graduating. Of these, 20% had been unemployed for over a year
  • 24.8% said they were currently ‘under-employed’ in low-paid or short-term positions that did not require a degree
  • Of those who were unemployed or under-employed, only 15.2% said they were confident of finding a graduate-level job in future
  • 59.9% said the careers advice provided at school was poor
  • 78.4% said the jobcentre was unhelpful in finding them a graduate-level job, and 64.2% said it was unhelpful in finding them any sort of job.

Publishing the report today, CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says:

“We undertook this research because CABs all over Scotland were reporting to us that they were seeing an increase in the numbers of graduates who were struggling with unemployment and low incomes.

“Many graduates of course are able to find satisfying work after they obtain their degree. But our survey reveals that worrying numbers are not. And many of them feel deeply frustrated that they are unable to make the progress in their lives they were expecting to make after graduation.

“Having been told a degree was the key to a successful and prosperous life, and having worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get one, many Scots have then found themselves entrenched instead in a culture of unemployment or low wages and short term contracts. Meanwhile, support from agencies like the jobcentre seems to be sadly lacking.

“It’s heart-rending to read so many accounts of people, once full of hope for the future, who feel their lives are on hold. Some are even questioning whether it was worth the time, money and effort they put into getting their degrees. We would never say that a degree is not worthwhile, but this survey reveals in stark detail the extent of the crisis that many graduates are facing.

“Having met with a number of student groups and graduate organisations as we gathered this research, we have included in the report a list of practical recommendations of how we think these problems could be addressed. Essentially, students and graduates need much more support in managing the transition from graduation into work.”

The CAS research report, ‘Degrees of Insecurity’, is available online at /publications/degrees-insecurity.

It contains detailed analysis of our figures, and many quotes from the graduates we surveyed. Some of these comments are re-produced below.