The Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hescu) said the percentage of graduates out of work in January this year had risen to 8.9% – the worst figure since 1993.
Construction was among the hardest hit sectors with a jobless rate of 10.9% for architecture and building graduates, 11.8% for mechanical engineering and 11.9% for civil engineering.
Charlie Ball, deputy research director at Hecsu, said: “Graduate unemployment hasn’t risen as high as we feared and is some way off the levels of the last recession in 1992, when it reached 11.6 per cent.
“Prospects for graduates in the short term look brighter, with unemployment as a result of the downturn likely to have peaked. However, with the anticipated public-sector job cuts, the future in the medium term looks less clear.”
The average salary for new graduates rose marginally to £19,695.