To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to data in the Office for National Statistics's quarterly Economic Review published on 2 May 2019, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding that 31 per cent of graduates had more education than was required for the job they were doing in 2017; and what steps the Government is taking to make more effective use of graduates' skills and education.
Employment outcomes for graduates are strong. The recently published Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2018 shows that the employment rate of working-age graduates was 87.7% in 2018, which is 0.3% higher than 2017. This employment rate is 16.1% higher than the rate for non-graduates (71.6%). 65.4% of working-age graduates were employed in highly skilled roles, compared with 22.9% of non-graduates.
The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK by investing in skills, industries and infrastructure. Through this plan, £120 million was provided to fund collaboration between businesses and universities to stimulate local innovation through the Strength in Places Fund.
The primary aim of the Office for Students’ (OfS), the higher education regulator, is to ensure that higher education delivers positive outcomes for students and that it has a regulatory focus to ensure that students are able to progress into employment or further study. The OfS supports graduate employment outcomes in a number of ways. This includes a Challenge Competition, which aims to boost local employment outcomes, and the Institute of Coding, which aims to boost UK digital skills and graduate outcomes.
The government has been improving the information available to students to help them make informed choices when making decisions on higher education providers and subject choice. For example, Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Frameworks, Longitudinal Education Outcomes data and the Higher Education Open Data Competition all provide information to prospective students.