The report, commissioned by the National Union of Students for its annual conference on Tuesday, says the spectre of "underemployment" (where people want to work longer hours or in higher-skilled jobs than they do) among graduates is likely to continue well after any economic recovery; prospects for entering low-paid employment and top-ranking jobs are improving but median-paid employment remains scarce. At present 3.3 million adults fall into this category, compared with 2.3 million five years ago.
Students, now leaving university with increased debt following rises in tuition fees, are likely to face years of hardship.
The report adds that there has also been an increase in "zero hour" contracts, whereby employees are asked to be available for work but with no guarantee that any will be available.
"Graduates are having difficulty getting traditional graduate jobs," said Liam Burns, president of the NUS. "We´re not saying there is no added value in getting a degree but this shows that the idea that a degree is a golden ticket to good, well-paid employment is not true."