The financial rewards of higher education

An article ‘The financial rewards of higher education’ from the Economic and Social Research Council questions graduate employment in relation to the financial cost of going to university.

The article states that as the number of graduates entering the workforce rises, jobs that were traditionally classed as non-graduate are increasingly being taken by graduates, blurring the boundaries between graduate and non-graduate work. Many occupations are now being classed as ‘partially graduate’.

Higher education, especially given its increased cost to the individual, could therefore be considered a risky investment for a proportion of the population. This presents a challenging decision for young people thinking about their future.

Dr Malcolm Brynin from the University of Essex has analysed employment data for graduates. The key findings include:

  • There is a considerable overlap in the distribution of hourly pay amongst graduates and those with A-levels.
  • The mean real pay of graduates in managerial and professional jobs has risen less than that of non-graduates in roughly similar jobs.
  • In 2008, 38% of all employees were in occupations that were not clearly graduate or non- graduate.
  • While in most cases a degree will be of financial benefit, there is an approximately one in four chance that a graduate will receive a below-average wage, and a 50/50 chance of receiving an average wage.

The report believes that it is still important to encourage people into higher education, especially those with no tradition of higher education in the family. However, at the same time it is crucial that young people are not given false expectations which could result in high levels of debt and difficulty finding jobs.

Prospective students need balanced and clear information to make informed decisions.

To read this article in full, please click here.

Kudos Inspire, the latest program from CASCAiD, provides post-16 students with detailed information to help them explore all options available to them, to help them plan their future.

Students can explore the vocational and academic routes into each career using the Kudos Inspire ‘Progression Routes’. Furthermore, with the enhanced version of Kudos Inspire, students will be able to read case studies from professionals in each industry to gain further insight into the routes that can to be taken to enter careers that they are interested in.

Kudos Inspire also contains salary and labour market information to ensure young people are realistic about the chances of gaining employment in their favoured industry and the amount of qualifications and experience needed to succeed.

Widening participation activities from universities are continuing to increase, in an attempt to ensure that a university place is about ability rather than ability to pay. With Kudos Inspire, the ‘Inspire Me!’ section shows how career opportunities broaden if higher qualifications are achieved, inspiring students to aim higher and reach their potential.

For many careers, higher education provides the only way in. However, the rise of vocational qualifications recently has provided an alternative route for many who may prefer a less academic learning style and aren’t willing to take on the financial ‘risk’ that accompanies higher education.

To find out more about Kudos Inspire, please click here.

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