Recent graduates have become disillusioned with the value of their universities in their search for work.
A study by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) found students' perceptions of the value of their universities in finding a job dropped sharply after graduating.
The study followed students through their time at university and afterwards, finding that two-thirds (67%) believed their universities would be helpful in finding work in the year before they graduated.
However, 18 months after they graduated only 50% believed their universities had been of help.
The students believed that their choice of degree subject had been more helpful, with 60% believing it helped them find work after graduating, although this was also less than the 77% who believed it would be of help while still at university.
Jane Artess, who led the research at HECSU, said: “The students graduated into one of the worst recessions in history and this has greatly impacted their transition into the labour market.
"Aspects such as reputation of institution and skills developed on courses, which would under normal economic circumstances offer great advantage to job seeking graduates, had less of a positive influence."
The recession has meant 40% of those who left university in 2009 were working in non-graduate jobs 18 months after graduating, compared with just 26% who started university in 1999.