Image shows someone in a graduation cap and gown facing away from the camera.

London graduates struggle to find jobs despite capital’s record on graduate roles

London-based graduates are struggling to find jobs, despite research finding that graduate jobs are concentrated in the capital.

The proportion of graduates working in graduate jobs has declined in almost every other part of the country, according to a report published in November by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The report that found in inner London, 65% of working graduates are in jobs requiring a degree, compared to a national average of 57%.

However, London-based graduates are still struggling to find jobs after leaving university. 

Maanya, who graduated from University College London last summer, said: “The issue is that because London is advertised to be the hub for graduate schemes, graduates from everywhere else in the UK are thinking ‘okay, if I want to make it in the corporate world I’ve got to go to London’. 

“That ends up being an issue because you can’t facilitate every graduate in the UK, so the applications are getting overly saturated.”

Almost every region of the UK has seen a drop in the number of graduates working in graduate roles between 1993 and 2022.

Only Inner London and North Yorkshire saw slight increases, to 65% and 58% respectively. 

In 1993, the highest rate of graduates working in graduate roles was 78%, recorded in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

In 2022, the area measured just above the national average at 59%.

Inner London Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire were the two regions with the highest rate of graduates in graduate positions in 2022, though for the latter this represented a decline of 3% since 1993. 

These figures support the theory that London is the best place to be in the UK for those hoping to get a graduate job after leaving university. 

The concentration of those graduate jobs in London also matches a wider trend: compared to the national average, Inner London has seen a higher percentage increase in employment across low, middle, and high paid jobs.

The greatest difference is in high paid jobs (deciles 7-10).

In Inner London, the number of people in these higher paid roles grew by 240% between 1993 and 2022.

In Outer London high paid employment rose by 137%, compared to a national average of 107.4%.

The data looks at workers aged 18-64, and uses the median hourly wage of each occupation to determine which decile it falls into.

Examples of high paid jobs include roles in business and finance as well as marketing and sales.

The data suggests that London is not only the best place in the UK to secure a graduate job, but the best place to get a high paid job in general.

However, Maanya does not believe having a degree is the deciding factor in finding employment. 

She said: “The degree does not matter anymore; you need to get a 2:1 and a mound of experience. 

“If somebody had told me that, the trajectory of my life would be a lot different: if I had got an internship and a bit more work experience I could have financial security right now. 

“Universities keep broadcasting that all their students get into top companies, but they didn’t help with that. 

“A lot of these students are putting in hours and hours of work whilst juggling their degrees to find jobs.

“Bless the people who don’t know they have to put in that much effort during first, second and third year; I was one of those people, and I feel like I was let down.”

She said that, although her university had a central career hub students could use, it was difficult to book appointments with a team trying to provide their services to a large student population. 

She added: “I feel like if degrees have been made to help you get jobs, why is it not a requirement of the department to at least have one lecture, or one online class, on the job market for your degree?”

University College London did not respond to a request for comment.

Feature image credit: MD Duran via Unsplash

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