SRHE Employability, Enterprise and Work-based Learning Network: Tracking Graduate Skills Demand

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganiser of major conference


The share of graduates in the British workforce more than doubled between 1995 and 2020. Drawing on worker-reported job task data from the Skills and Employment Survey 1997-2017, this presentation develops, validates and deploys a novel index of graduate skill use to assess the state of the graduate labour market in Britain. We find that changes in job tasks drove the expansion of degree requirements until 2006 but decoupled during the period of the Great Recession. Compared with 1997-2006, the growth of graduate skill use slowed over 2006-2017. Nonetheless, typical graduate skills use by education level remained remarkably stable over 1997-2017. To estimate the wage returns to graduate skills use, we develop an analysis that accounts for the close relationship between tasks and individual skills. The analysis finds substantial, time-constant average return to graduate skill use. According to the estimates, differences in graduate skills use can explain 80% of the typical wage gap between graduates and non-graduates.
Period17 Jul 2023
Event typeSeminar
Degree of RecognitionInternational