Some degrees are useless for getting a job

Posted on

A former skills minister, Robert Halfon, has suggested that students taking degrees that will help them to work in areas of demand should pay less.

He believes that, although intellectual development is a good thing, “…all courses, given the high payment, the cost, the loan you take, should be about high-skilled employability. Every course.”

If you want to study subjects that do not address employability – such as mediaeval history – you shouldn’t expect to get any incentives or discounts unlike people aiming to work in areas where the country has a skills deficit such as healthcare, coding, construction, engineering and digital.

He also criticises the Russell group of universities which he says have impressive marketing rather than results, and are complacently resting on their reputations. Their response was to say its members’ “number one priority is to support their undergraduates to become highly skilled, self-motivated young adults, who are capable of thinking for themselves and adapting to new work environments.”

Which are the best degrees to get you a job within six months of graduating?

Medicine 99%

Building 87%

Chemical engineering 78%

Physics & astronomy 77%

Economics 76%

Which are worst degrees for employability?

Animal science 45%

Agriculture & forestry 55%

Creative writing 55%

Hospitality/tourism 56%

Sociology 56%

I’m surprised there aren’t other micky-mouse degrees on the list like media studies or history of art but I think the point is well made. Can we afford to provide degree courses because it’s a good thing to do rather than because your country needs you?

For years the military attracted graduates by paying their way through university and modern apprenticeships and Dyson’s new university are very focussed on work outcomes.

I’m not suggesting we go the old soviet route of directed employment although I remember an argument between two german psychologists I met in Finland. One was from the former east who wanted to be a doctor but was told to do a psychology degree instead, and one from the west who thought that was scandalous. Both were happy in their jobs.

Of course it will upset the snowflakes…..




University doesn’t pay off for most graduates

Posted on

graduation_hat_tassel_flip_anim_500_wht_14455unless they studied medicine, dentistry, technology or went to Oxbridge or the Russell Group universities.

Graduates have been sold the high pay myth but starting salaries show the reality.

  • If you studied design, psychology (one of the most popular courses), media studies or English then starting salaries range from £16 – 17,000.
  • Maths, economics, engineering & technology, and computer science graduates can expect£22 – 25,000.
  • Medicine and dentistry  graduates can expect to start at £28,000.
  • Graduates for post-92 former polytechnics typically start on £18,000 compared with £25,000 for Oxbridge graduates.

Going to university puts you in debt of up to £53,000 which costs you more over your working life than you than it benefits you.

The government claims that the graduate premium is worth an average of £400,000 over a 45-year career. An independent think tank thinks it’s nearer £100,000.

That’s £2,200 more than people who didn’t go to university and is wiped out by tax and NI contributions.

The co-founder of Intergenerational Foundation which published the report  (The Graduate Premium: Mann, Myth or Plain mis-selling?) accused the government of gross mis-selling.

Angus Hanton said “The premium is simply not enough to cover the interest accruing on the average loan. The current system is fuelling a self-perpetuating debt machine which short-changes young people

The government refutes the findings of the report claiming male graduates can boost their earnings by £170,000 and female graduates by £250,000 based on independent reports. (So not the £400k then?)

But isn’t this a problem of supply and demand? We have too many graduates for the jobs available. And many of those have Mickey Mouse degrees offered to tempt the less academically inclined students.

University expansion has created  the need for more students to fill places and grade inflation has been used to attract them, especially foreign ones. More students than ever are obtaining 1st or upper second degrees.

The report’s author Stephen Kemp said “The UK already has more overqualified workers than any OECD country other than Japan but higher degree qualifications have not led to increased graduate pay

He said employers are now demanding a degree for many lower-skilled jobs without needing to pay any graduate premium at all. Maybe that’s because employers can no longer put a value on a degree classifications.

At one time going to university was about more than getting a degree to get a job. Students learned about sharing opinions, hearing alternative points of view, even travelling abroad in the vacations.

Now with all the emphasis on safe spaces and avoiding micro-aggressions they don’t even get that for their money.