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Anorak | Don’t Bother With University: Get A Job Instead

Don’t Bother With University: Get A Job Instead

by | 17th, August 2011

DON’T go to University – get a job instead. Yes, everyone says you’ve got to go to uni if you’re going to get ahead. But this isn’t actually true as a number of employers are now pointing out:

A poll of employers has revealed a surprising degree of scepticism about the value of a degree. The finding may encourage students who miss the A-level grades they need for university on Thursday to abandon the idea of re-applying next year.

The majority of the more than 400 UK firms surveyed said they would hire a school-leaver with two years’ work experience over a graduate. Two-thirds of firms said so. This rose to almost three-quarters when just businesses that employ 50 people or fewer were surveyed.

Now this obviously isn’t true if you want to be a doctor: they tend to insist upon medical degrees there. But there’s a surprisingly large number of jobs where you really do not need a degree: you don’t to be an accountant or solicitor for example, both professions offer non-graduate entry. And speaking personally as someone who has employed staff I’d always prefer someone with a bit of experience and nous to someone who simply had a degree.

There is that “experience” bit though. It’s not necessarily experience of a particular job people are looking for, just experience in general. Few want to have to hand hold 18 year olds through the idea of turning up for work on time, sober and clean. But that experience can be pretty much anything you like. Work on a golf course in Turkey for a year or two, travel to Australia, climb the greasy pole at McDonald’s to team leader: absolutely anything that shows a bit of get up and go, a bit of gumption, will do.

Of course, there are those who disagree:

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the umbrella group for vice-chancellors Universities UK, urged teenagers to remember that, on average, graduates earn “considerably more” than non-graduates over their working lives. Graduates were more likely to be employed than non-graduates.

“It is also important to remember that the job market is changing,” she said. “The Confederation of British Industry predicted earlier this year that by 2017, 56% more jobs will require people to hold graduate-level qualifications. A university education does not just increase your chances of getting a job on leaving university, but also provides you with skills for life.”

Well she would say that, wouldn’t she? That’s her members salary cheques disappearing over the horizon along with the 18 year olds off to get a bit of life experience instead of a degree.

Do a degree if that’s what you want to do – do a degree. Otherwise, you don’t have to have one: and part of the point of charging £40,000 for students to take a degree now is to get people thinking about whether they actually, really, want to do a degree.



Posted: 17th, August 2011 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink