Nearly a third (31%) of graduates had more education than was required for the job they were doing in 2017, according to new data published today (29 April 2019) by the Office for National (ONS) as part of its quarterly Economic Review.

For those who graduated before 1992, the number was only 21.7% but this jumped to 34.2% for those graduating after 2007.

The figures show that the incidence of overeducation was highest in the 25 to 34 years and 35 to 49 years age groups. The data also show that overeducation was not a short-term phenomenon, with 29.2% of graduates still overeducated for their current role five years after graduation.

London was the UK region with the highest proportion of overeducated workers. This is partly due to the relatively high proportion of migrant labour in London, a group that the article shows are typically overeducated.

Commenting on today’s findings, senior ONS economist Dr Maja Savic said:“While overeducation is more prevalent in recent graduates, it is also common for those who left university some time ago.

“Our findings show that people who studied arts, biology and humanities are the most likely to be overeducated.”

The full Overeducation and hourly wages in the UK labour market; 2006 to 2017 article is available.

The full Economic Review, which focuses on the UK labour market, is available.

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