At the moment of writing, some 200 million people are unemployed around the world, while forecasts for the near future predict for the global unemployment rate to continue to grow, reaching 212 million by the end of 2010s. Of the total 200 million unemployed, about 75 million are young people (aged between 15 and 24 years) of varying educational levels. Nevertheless, the results of the majority of studies on the issue reveal that the more education one has, the more likely they are to find a job.
Just because you have a university degree, that doesn’t automatically give you an advantage in the labour market. Though there is a strong correlation between education and employment, some countries - especially the developing ones - are reporting about high unemployment rates among university graduates. What is more, having a university degree makes you more likely to be unemployed in some countries.
In the UK, there are currently only 7 percent of new university leavers out of work, however, one third of university graduates are working in “non-professional” positions including as cleaners and road sweepers.
Three main reasons have been identified to be responsible for the rising unemployment rates of highly educated professionals:
Population growth. As the population continues to grow, the job competition increases. It’s plain mathematics.
Slowdown of the world economy. Millions of jobs have been lost worldwide immediately after the 2008 economic crisis. The figures show some improvement, however, fewer jobs are expected to open in the forthcoming years than job seekers will enter the labour market.
Gap between the market needs and graduates’ knowledge/skills. On the one hand, graduates complain about the lack of jobs but on the other, employers complain about the inability to find adequately qualified candidates no matter if holding a university degree or not. This suggests that there is gap between the market needs and graduates’ knowledge/skills which are not up to the employers’ requirements.
Researchers agree that despite challenges, education remains the best investment into one’s future. However, they also point out to the need of educational reforms and above all, closer cooperation of educators with the industry and employers with an aim to identify their needs and ‘equip’ the students with the key skills and competencies.