The survey reveals, however, that full-time employment rates remain much lower than they were for 2005 graduates
A survey of young people three-and-a-half years after graduating suggests graduate unemployment has returned to pre-crash levels, though a high proportion of these are in part-time work or further study.
The study, conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), shows that 2.6 per cent of 2011 graduates living in the UK were unemployed three-and-a-half years later, the same level as that of the class of 2005.
However, the data on those in full-time employment does not suggest we have returned to a pre-recession economy. The level of graduates employed full-time rose to 1.4 per cent to 73.4 per cent in the 2011 group, but this is still short of the 76.1 per cent high among 2005 graduates.
The level of graduates in work other than full-time—including voluntary, freelance, and further study alongside work—has remained high at 15.7 per cent, where the 2005 levels were only at 13.6 per cent.
The data suggest that while unemployment is falling, it is still not easy for students to find reliable full-time employment.
The gender pay gap remains present in the data, and while median salary for female first-time degree graduates in full-time employment is £24000, for men this stands at £26000.
While men were more likely to have secured full-time work three-and-a-half years after graduation at 77 per cent compared to 70.5 per cent, female graduates were actually less likely to be unemployed—2.3 per cent to 3.3 per cent.
Jo Johnson, Universities Minister, said the government aims to “ensure everyone has the opportunity to work hard and secure a better future.”
“These latest statistics are a further welcome sign that so many graduates enjoy high levels of employment, but there is more to do to ensure students get the teaching they deserve and employers get the skills they need.”