When measuring the economic value of higher education we too often assume that past performance is indicative of future success. But the labour market is about to become much less predictable, argues Adam Wright.
HESA have recently released the latest DLHE figures showing the destinations of graduates six months after obtaining their degrees. They have sparked headlines about unemployed graduates as well as underemployed graduates – those that can’t find work and those having to take non graduate jobs. Stories on the BBC and in broadsheets from the Guardian to the Telegraph have highlighted up to 1 in 5 graduates unemployed at six months and around 1 in 4 of those in work in jobs that might not require degree level qualifications. These findings come at a time when fees are rising to £9k a year and many commentators can’t resist seeing the data as proof that too many people go to university and that there aren’t the jobs to accommodate them all. Andy Westwood takes a closer look at the data and argues that this is a lazy and potentially damaging view.