Almost one-in-10 students were without a job after graduating from university last year as unemployment rates hit a record high, figures show.
Students from some institutions were considerably more likely to left jobless as the recession puts a squeeze on graduate positions.
More than a fifth of students from London Metropolitan University were not working or studying six months after graduating, while 18 per cent left London South Bank without a job.
Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show the downturn also hit students from elite institutions as eight per cent of Oxbridge graduates were left jobless.
But at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen only two per cent of graduates were unemployed.
The come amid warnings that job prospects will be even worse this summer.
Analysts say graduate positions will be squeezed as the economic downturn forces employers to impose recruitment freezes. A survey of the top 100 graduate employers found that vacancies had been cut by more than a quarter this year.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and Colleges Union, said the latest figures were "grim reading".
"The Prime Minister said he would not let education be a victim of the recession but these figures, coupled with the constant news of redundancies, does little to reassure us," she said. "The fact that graduates are entering such a tough job market with record levels of debt must be a real cause for concern for all of us."
In total, nine per cent of students leaving university last summer were without jobs after six months. Unemployment rates are now higher than at any point in the last 10 years.
Jobs were easiest to find for students leaving Scottish universities, it was revealed. At Edinburgh Napier, 97 per cent of graduates were working or in further study after six months, while the employment rate for Aberdeen University students was 96.7 per cent.
In England, 96.7 per cent of students from Surrey University were also working or studying after six months.
Some specialist colleges, such as the Royal College of Music and St George's Hospital Medical School also had high rates. Only three per cent and two per cent of students, respectively, were out of work.
These universities had better rates than Oxford and Cambridge where 92 per cent of graduates were working.
But at 45 universities more than one-in-10 graduates were jobless.
Unemployment rates were highest at institutions including Norwich University College of the Arts, Middlesex, Westminster and Bolton.
Previous data from Hesa showed those students finding work last year were also much more likely to be in low-paid jobs. More graduates were working as bar staff, labourers, shelf stackers, parking attendants and cleaners.
The figures also showed that students taking creative arts and history courses were among those most likely to be unemployed. More than one in 10 students with architecture, building and planning degrees were jobless - reinforcing fears over a decline in the housing market. (By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Published: 7:00AM BST 17 Jul 2009)