Figures obtained by Birkenhead MP Frank Field show university graduates are earning lower wages than non-graduate employees who have completed apprenticeships.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that in April to June last year, 27% of graduates were earning an hourly wage lower than non-graduate employees.

Mr Field said: “More than a quarter of graduates now earn less than workers with an apprenticeship under their belt.

“Successive generations of young people have been shoehorned into universities on the promise of improving their lifetime earnings.

"But as well as being saddled with eye-watering levels of debt, more than a quarter of them now work in part-time roles earning lower wages than workers with an apprenticeship under their belt.

“Politicians need to sit up and take note of these shifting patterns. We need to encourage more young people to think hard about the best ways of achieving their goals in life.”

The lowest-earning 40% of graduates were more likely to work in part-time roles, and are heavily concentrated in low-paying sectors such as distribution, hotels and restaurants, earning around £13.45 an hour or less.

The top five roles for non-graduate employees with an apprenticeship were manual roles such as electricians, carpenters and mechanics.