Graduates are key to a global knowledge economy, says Steve West

Issue date: 19 August 2015


Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol

UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve West has dismissed reports in the media that the UK labour market is oversaturated with graduates in non-graduate roles.

“The UK is building its economic future around a knowledge based, high tech economy that requires highly skilled graduates and technicians. Whilst graduates, during an economic downturn may well be in jobs that are classified as 'non-graduate' it is still graduates who are being employed in preference to non-graduates.

“Employers recognise that they are more flexible and offer more potential. Our own employability data consistently places in the top performing quartile with 95% of our graduates in employment or higher study 6 months after graduation. Many of our graduates fulfilling professional roles such as teachers, healthcare practitioners, nurses, social workers, lawyers, engineers, architects, planners, accountants and business professionals, computer analysts and creative industry professionals. I'm afraid the idea of limiting the number of graduates when the rest of the developing world is investing and graduating far more graduates than the UK is a completely ridiculous argument. How far behind does the UK want to be in a global knowledge economy?”

His comments are in response to a report released by the CIPD today - Over-qualification and skills mismatch in the graduate labour market,that states the number of people graduating from university now vastly outweighs the amount of high-skilled jobs and that the UK has the second highest graduation ration (54%) amongst Western nations belonging to the OECD - behind Iceland.

Professor West is Chair of University Alliance, South-West Regional Chair of CBI, President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the West of England Initiative at Business West and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England.

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