Does a degree help employment prospects?
By Pamela Head,
In 1993, the average graduate earned twice as much as someone with lower qualifications. Yet now there is just a 14% pay gap between them and someone with A-Levels, a new study has revealed.
Degree holders are paid more on average but an increasingly high proportion of people earned the same as A-Level school leavers, making university for those people essentially a waste of time economically.
This suggests that the idea of going to university in order to get a better-paid job is in fact a myth, nowadays.
So are there actually any benefits to higher education left, apart from the obvious social aspect of partying every night and sleeping every day?
Dr Malcolm Brynin, reader at the University of Essex’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, analysed data from the British Labour Force Survey and found that although the economic benefits of going to university appear to be dwindling, higher education is being seen as a prerequisite to getting a good job.
Basically, as more graduates enter the working world with their shiny degree, whether their job was listed as a graduate specific one or a standard one becomes redundant. As they’re graduates themselves, their job suddenly takes on the prestige of attracting graduates and transforms into a graduate job.
Just to earn merely average pay, “it is increasingly necessary to be a graduate” while a growing number of organisations are now entirely staffed by graduates, Dr Brynin claims.
So what do you do if the main reason you were considering university was for the boost in your pay packet at the end of it?
It seems you may need to consider a university education just to get one foot on the employment ladder to begin with. But is this all they’re good for?
A degree shows that you have other skills than just those listed on your certificate. The ability to work to deadlines, in a team, leadership if you’ve been in charge of a project, volunteering and communication skills to name a few.
The chance to join a society always gives extra skills too, as you’re exposed to new challenges and have a chance to prove you can take on work outside of the bog standard degree.
This new research spells bad news if you’d imagined yourself driving a fancy car home from your job in the city every day, but it’s still the place to go to turn yourself into the type of employee companies want and set yourself apart from the rest if you grab every opportunity you can.