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Degree, or No Degree, that is the Question

It is a common tradition in our society that the purpose of education through school and college is to aim for a place at university, with most emphasis on those that are deemed 'elite' such as the Oxbridge universities or their American equivalent. A questionable fact is: if students can't compete with the scholarship-bound or academically brilliant people all over the UK, is it really worth sacrificing three years of your life studying; rather than gaining practical experience and insight into a realistic working environment.

A poignant advantage for non-graduates is that they are able to have 3-4 years of solid experience in a working environment, which, depending on the type of employment, may prove to be of more practical value in a workplace than a paper-back qualification. Furthermore, for those in their early 20’s the salary between a graduate and non-graduate could be comparable. But if you look at those two individuals ten or fifteen years into the future, it’s probable that the graduate will have progressed considerably faster whereas the other one won't have.

During the period from when a pupil leaves secondary education and joins the workforce, they are able to ascertain which jobs they think suit them and those jobs that perhaps seemed a comforting ideal, but in reality do not live up to expectations. The ability to diversify your preferences is a crucial opportunity that graduates will be deprived of until later in life. Those few years spent at university are focused on specialising yourself to a specific subject. However, each year it seems a higher level of graduates leave their studies with degrees which are irrelevant to their prospective career choice. This issue must be addressed because our generation of graduates have had to deal with record high levels of enrolment in third-tier education; yet at the same time the graduates of today are burdened with the highest levels of unemployment and debt.

A clear-cut pattern that seems to have emerged is that those candidates choosing to read 'soft' and over-generic subjects have in fact picked the short straw, which becomes exceedingly apparent when they attempt to compete in the belligerent job market. Similar to Italy, such a high majority of the population have gone to university due to the lack of jobs which devalues the importance of a degree. Instead, a thought that should be crossing each student’s mind is whether or not the field they intend to pursue actually demands the qualification of a degree. Having seen firsthand through working in recruitment, a student with a soft and generic degree such as Textiles or Theology for example is significantly harder to place in a non-related field such as administration or finance than a non-graduate who has built up a profile of experience.  This doesn't mean that the degree is pointless, as students would have still acquired practical skills such as communication and research gaining a significant level of independence which is essential in any field of work.

In essence students need to give very careful consideration to their chosen subject, as this will hugely impact them on entering the job market. They could look back and be very disillusioned with the outcome which could impact on their future career. By the time they approach a recruitment consultancy in the prospect of finding them their first job, discovering that their degree has little or no relevance to offer a potential employer who disregards their CV based simply on irrelevant qualifications.

Tagged: recruiting, graduate, unemployment.

Written By: Ainsley Morgan On: 2nd Nov 11

Very helpful and friendly staff, great knowledge of the company and what the job involved, kept in touch throughout- good communication. Placed me into a job where I was very keen in going into, and overall a very pleasant and pleasing experience throughout!.Carmen K. - Candidate March 2010