There are so many “graduates in non-graduate occupations” in the UK now that — what else? — they have their own group acronym: GRINGOS. Just how many are there? Almost half of employed recent grads are working in what Britain’s Office for National Statistics calls a “non-graduate role.” Almost half? That’s even worse than here.
But the very fact that it’s such a strong trend hampers the gringos, according to Tracy Scurry, a lecturer at Newcastle University Business School and John Blenkinsopp, a professor at Hull Business School. In an article in Graduate Management Trends, published by the High Education Career Service Unit, they argue that too many gringos are readily accepting their fate, seeing these inferior jobs as a “stepping stone” to a better job in the future but not really going after positions that may use the skills they picked up in school. “Making sense of their underemployment in ways that make it more bearable may therefore, ironically, lead to graduates staying underemployed for longer,” they write. “We have been surprised by how often graduates will make bold assertions about the lack of opportunities, but when questioned, admit that they personally have done relatively little to test out the labor market.”
Commenting further to Times Higher Education, Blenkinsopp said, “There is no solid pressure to look for graduate employment” coming from peers, which meant that non-graduate occupations were increasingly seen as “an opportunity to take stock, be reasonably well paid and pay down some debt. The risk was that this became a comfortable story that they told themselves that led them to not take action.”
Meanwhile, back in the universities, there was “almost a silencing of discussion” about getting the kids ready to be gringos. What a surprise.