Not only are UK students graduating into a recession, but into a society with rapidly increasing income inequality, a new report by the OECD suggests. The international think tank has published findings linking the expansion and entrenchment of a high-earning financial sector over the last thirty years with a deepening division between high and low earners, with the highest ten percent grossing salaries estimated at twelve times that of the lowest ten percent.
Whilst graduates are, overall, better qualified and positioned to function in higher paying roles, cutbacks in both the private and public sector have pushed them to pursue work in sectors which traditionally pay less. Not only does this mean that they’re likely to experience the effects of income inequality, this also places extra pressure on job seekers without degrees who are trying to break down the seemingly intractable barrier to employment.
Furthermore, graduates mainly fall into the vulnerable age range of ‘young people’ aged 16-24, nearly 1 million of whom are now unemployed according to official statistics published in November. Faced with the debt generated by increased tuition fees in a strangled and unequal job market, it’s highly possible that the skills and potential of this generation will be squandered.
The OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría claims that the new study “dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility. Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”