Which is Better: A Degree or the University of Life?

Our Recruitment Manager, Sophie Finlay, shares her thoughts on the current graduate job market which raises the question of whether a degree or the university of life is more valuable.

Last week The Times reported that the number of graduate jobs available has fallen for the first time in 5 years. While top employers had planned to recruit more than 22,000 graduates last year, uncertainty in the aftermath of Brexit took its toll and only 19,133 grads were taken into leading companies.

With the number of graduate jobs falling and tuition fees racking up £54,000 of debt per head, it begs the question, is it even worth getting a degree?

Is the university of life more valuable?

Leading employers are saying that they now value experience over degrees. Indeed, in a recent survey, 58% said experience doing a job is more important than a specific qualification.

There are plenty of super-successful entrepreneurs who do not have degrees, including:

  • Sir Richard Branson – Left school at 16 and now has an estimated net worth of £2.7billion. He has also said “an entrepreneur’s education is on the job”.
  • Lord Alan Sugar – Also left school at 16 and is now worth an estimated £1 billion
  • Michelle Mone – Left school at 15 with no qualifications and is now one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the entire country

Can we go through life and earn a good living without a degree?

Well, the examples above would certainly suggest so. However, on the other hand, research by online job site Adzuna has found that, on average, graduates earn half a million pound more over their lifetime than people without degrees. If this is the case, surely that £54,000 debt is well-worth it in the long-run?

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also show that graduates are much more likely to be employed than non-graduates.

The outlook for 2018 graduates

Student research specialists, High Fliers, suggest that the top 100 employers are optimistic about 2018 when it comes to graduate recruitment (with an expected recovery of 3.6%). They also report that graduate starting salaries are remaining at an average of £30,000 for the fourth year running (although I have my reservations about this figure being a realistic starting salary for grads).

Here at Bridgewater Graduates, we’re hearing from plenty of employers who are specifically looking for graduates to join and make an impact on their businesses as soon as possible.

So, if you’re graduating this year and worrying whether your degree was worth the time and money, don’t despair! The graduate job market is undoubtedly competitive but there are plenty of opportunities out there and you will find the right one for you.

Degree, or not degree? That is the question.

Do you think a degree makes a big difference to your career prospects? Or is it just a waste of time and money?

Graduate jobs      Electrical wholesale jobs

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