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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.


Dr Golo Henseke works as an Associate Professor at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. He has a multi-disciplinary social science background with a major in economic. Before joining the Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances at IOE in 2014 as Research Officer, he worked as research assistant and teaching fellow in Germany. Since 2016, he has held a part-time position at the ESRC-funded Centre for Global Higher Education. His research interests cut across multiple themes in labour and education economics. Among others, he has examined patterns and determinants of heterogeneity in graduate outcomes in the labour market and beyond, examined the role of school quality on job outcomes, and analysed the transition to work during times of heightened uncertainties.

July 17th, 2023 from 12:00 PM to  1:00 PM
Online event - link will be provided
United Kingdom
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