The debate over the true value of a degree and the benefit this actually has to your future career is one that has raged on for generations and is unlikely to ever disappear. In the latest article from the Collegiate advice team, we look at just how important your degree is and we look to come to a conclusion on one of the most timeless academic debates.
What Is The Value Of A University Degree?
Despite the aforementioned discussions to the contrary, there is actually hard evidence of very substantial returns on investment from a degree course over a lifetime of earnings. The key here though, is how one goes about one’s studies when at university.
Indeed, a 2:2 or third degree qualification from a mediocre university compared to a first degree with honours or a 2:1 from one of the high ranking academic institutions, is very unlikely going to open the same doors for your career. Achieving the best possible grade and going to a respected university is going to drastically increase your chances of landing the best job straight out of university.
What Does Latest Research Show?
The last time detailed research was carried out into this subject, men without a degree were likely to earn 28% less (approximately £168,000) and women were likely to earn 53% less (around £252,000). The higher cost of university in recent years is likely to be one of the key contributors to these figures rising even further. Making a good degree from a reputable university all the more appealing to the biggest firms in the UK as they value those who invest in their education.
There are of course big anomalies in this data whereby individuals who hadn’t gone to university had earned extremely large salaries through prudent investments and business ventures. These do of course rely on a large amount of bravery and business acumen and are exceptions to the general rule that a degree, is of course, of great interest to one’s future career.
What Are My Graduate Job Prospects?
It goes without saying, that by securing a good degree qualification, you are giving a huge boost to your graduate job prospects. Although you will hear many people say they have never used their degree in their lives or that it has done nothing for their career, these individuals are most likely not currently working in the sector they trained for. You only need to examine the plethora of graduate schemes out there at huge companies to see that when it comes to highly skilled work or an industry where a degree is vital, these qualifications still hold the very highest amount of gravitas.
Some of the sectors this applies to include, but are not limited to IT, Law, Accountancy, SEO and Web Development. The recruiters at the biggest firms in these industries are always on the lookout for the very best young talent. Graduates represent fantastic value for money and an opportunity to harness some of the brightest young talent.
What degree a graduate achieved and at which university will naturally be key in their decision making. However, don’t be afraid to try out industries that don’t relate to your degree or which you haven’t studied for. The world is quite literally your oyster when you graduate, so take your time if necessary and do what feels right for you.
What Are The Best Graduate Schemes?
The best graduate schemes for each individual will very much depend on the industry they wish to break into, but there are all sorts of resources online at sites such as Prospects, The Guardian and some of the more reputable recruitment portals. One should be very wary of the latter however as recruiters can often lead you down the wrong path due to their lack of knowledge of your field of expertise.
If you are concerned about your next steps once you have completed your degree or it is nearly time to enter the world of work, then don’t worry. There will be trained careers advisors at your university who can talk you through all the next steps.
By speaking to the careers advisors and researching all the information in the previously mentioned websites and of course conducting intricate research into your field of study, you’ll be well on your way to finding what you want to do. Then you can rest assured that you will have some exciting graduate options when you finish university.
The Importance of Your Degree
What is still abundantly clear is that a good degree, achieved to a high level and from a prestigious university with a solid reputation is still absolutely vital to you securing the career you want in your chosen sector. Of course, this isn’t to say that without one it would be impossible to enter the industry you want to, but it will certainly make things a lot more difficult.
Along with your work experience, your attitude and other achievements and qualifications, there is no better way for an employer to determine if you have the necessary skills for their roles. It is only the lower quality degree courses at poorly ranked universities that can sometimes be dismissed. So be sure not to fall into the trap of thinking a degree is not important, it is important and you should treat it as such.
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