Higher education is still worth its weight in gold

Employers are still continuing to pay a premium to degree holders and the
expansion of higher education has not led to deterioration in opportunities for
graduates, says a new report.

Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market, explores
employment issues relating to 1995’s graduates. It reveals the ‘graduate
premium’ continues to hold up and the majority consider they are in appropriate
employment for someone with their qualifications, and are using skills
developed on their course.

More than three-quarters of the 1995 graduates were found to be in
employment related to their long-term career plans, and two-thirds said a
degree had been required for their current jobs.

Overall, 85 per cent of the 4,500 graduates who were surveyed said they were
very or reasonably satisfied with the way their career had developed.

The report is the result of an investigation of graduate careers and changes
in the labour market and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council
and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit.

Higher education minister Alan Johnson said: "This report adds another
nail to the coffin of the doom merchants. Despite the expansion of the 1990s it
is still a very good time to be a graduate – they have more opportunities and
earn more," he added.

Professor Peter Elias, who jointly led the research, said the report showed
the value of taking a long-term perspective.

"It is clear that graduate career paths evolve slowly: some graduates
take five years or longer to settle into their careers; for some it involves
further study; for others the process involves false starts or a rethink about
their early career choices," he said.

By Mike Berry


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