WHAT TO ADVISE A LEVEL STUDENTS? UNIVERSITY OR WORK?
No one could fail to have seen at least some of the press articles highlighting the fact that many multinational companies seen as employers of choice for new graduates are now stating that degrees are not necessary. For example:
Global publishing group Penguin Random House will no longer require candidates for new jobs to have a university degree
Ernst & Young, one of Britain’s biggest graduate recruiters, made a similar announcement, saying in August that it would no longer consider degree or A-level results when assessing potential employees
PricewaterhouseCoopers announced plans to ditch A-level results when recruiting graduates because of the unfair advantage given to independent school pupils
One of the reason stated by these employers for the change in their recruiting practice is they wish to attract a more diverse workforce. However, some would argue that our university system has worked for over 15 years to ensure university degrees were available to people from all walks of life, to make them more employable, provide them with better work opportunities and offer a diverse workforce.
With 20,000 of last year’s graduates still unemployed after six months and around 60,000 graduates taking employment in roles for which no degree was required it could be argued that over 80,000 students have incurred considerable debt for no gain. Perhaps this is the point employers are trying to make? Equally it could be argued studying for a degree gives the students a range of skills that has effectively led to 60,000 graduates gaining employment over non degree level applicants..
However, this is not the full picture. Unsurprisingly HESA statistics show that the degree subject studied directly affects your employability. All graduates who studied medicine and dentistry were in employment as were most of the students who studied subjects linked to medicine. Education and Computer Science graduates together with Engineering and technology graduates also showed high levels of employment (Javier, 2015). This raises the question whether a degree which does not lead to a specific career choice is a good investment for the student.
An interesting topic that will promote much debate. Please feel free to share your thoughts.