Graduate and post-graduate unemployment

Other Names:
Chronically unemployed university graduates
Unemployed intellectuals
Professional unemployment
Graduate glut

A university education creates very high employment expectations. In some countries, a university degree may be looked upon almost as a guarantee of a soft and secure job in the government service, and in most it is assumed to be a membership card of the elite class. But, even in rapidly modernizing countries, the purely administrative jobs in the government service become filled fairly rapidly: for example, the demand for lawyers is certainly not as great as the demand for technically trained personnel. And in those societies where large enterprises are owned and managed by members of family dynasties, even the opportunities for professionally trained engineers and technicians may be limited, at least in the early stages of development.


[Developing countries] In many developing countries there appear to be too many lawyers or too many arts graduates, and there may also be instances of unemployed or underemployed engineers, scientists, economists, and even agronomists. The unused intellectual, however, is sometimes unemployed because he is unwilling to accept work which he considers beneath his educational level.

[Industrialized countries] Universities in developed countries have organized themselves to increase considerably the number of post-graduate students. The demand for such students is now decreasing, with the result that there is a considerable rise in postgraduate unemployment. This decrease has in part been due to decreases in government expenditure on research as a result of national economic problems.


Narrower Problems:
Unvalued diplomas
Related Problems:
Student debt
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
17.10.2021 – 07:17 CEST