Graduates earn 40 per cent more than non-qualified peers

Young
people seeking lifelong financial security should look to higher education as
their starting point according to research which reveals that graduates in
their 20s earn nearly forty per cent more than peers of their age who have no
formal degree or equivalent qualifications.

This
earnings differential increases with age and by the time graduates are aged
31-40, they can expect to earn 63.1 per cent more than non-graduates of the
same age. By age 41-50, are a staggering 71.4 per cent ahead.

These
figures, presented in the latest Graduate Market Trends report from SU, the
higher education Careers Services Unit, show that young graduates aged 21-30
have average earnings of £22,302 pa compared to £15,948 for non-graduates in
the same age bracket – a difference of £6,354 per annum.

By
age 31-40, graduates earn £12,953 pa more (£33,472 compared to £20,519), and by
the time they reach 41-50, they earn on average £14,558 pa more (£34,958
compared to £20,400).

Commenting
on the SU findings, CSK’s chief executive, Mike Hill, said: "Unlike jobs,
a degree is for life and judging by these figures, higher education would
appear to be a very financially worthwhile investment.

"This
news will also be a timely boost for final year students who are predicted to
graduate this summer with average debts approaching £10,000. These considerable
earnings differentials suggest that graduates could discharge student loans
within a comparatively short time following graduation while still retaining an
above average income."

Diana
Warwick, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: "This report once again
highlights the value of a university degree.

"In
a time of uncertainty over jobs in general, it is clear that those who
undertake a university education are excellently placed to meet the challenges
and reap the rewards of a rapidly changing knowledge-based and competitive
market place."

Graduate
Market Trends also highlights the latest graduate salary and vacancy details
and reveals that the highest graduate starting salaries by type of work are
found in management consultancy (average £19,726), IT (£18,835), and
engineering and technology service (£18,717). Employers seeking graduates from
‘any science’, ‘any numerate discipline’, ‘any computer related subject’ and
‘electronic engineering’ also offered mean salaries of more than £19,000.

While
graduate vacancies in property and construction have risen by 17.3 per cent
from the previous year – an increase attributed to the booming housing market –
graduate vacancies have fallen overall as the demise of dotcoms, the after
effects of foot and mouth on tourism and agricultural industries and the
downturn in US markets take their toll. Graduate salaries in the UK however,
remain buoyant at £17,722 on average – virtually unchanged from the previous
year.

"It
has been a difficult winter economically for graduate employers and many have
been holding back with their recruitment to see how the economy recovers from
this series of events. Graduate recruitment in the public sector, however,
appears particularly buoyant with many employers struggling to fill places.
This should help absorb some of the slack of the private sector.

"Also,
judging by attendance at the latest season of graduate recruitment fairs,
always a reliable indicator of the graduate market, we are now seeing a
reversal of fortunes and students can once again look to the employment market
with real optimism," said Mike Hill.

By Ben Willmott

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