University degree or bust?

I am old enough to have come through the traditional grammar school system. At the time, the only approach was school, university, career for the most able. Mind you there were no tuition fees then!

Universities have once more come under pressure to justify their tuition fees after new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) research revealed that a little over half of graduates are in graduate-level jobs six months after leaving education.

Graduates are also earning well below the UK average wage, while female graduates are paid less than men, according to The graduate employment gap: expectations versus reality.

Just 52 per cent of university graduates had found graduate-level jobs six months after graduation, while almost a third were earning less than £20,000, compared to the UK average wage of £28,300. While the average salary for male graduates is £24,000, women are paid just £21,500.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates were found to be more likely to be unemployed after six months than the average graduate, despite successive government strategies designed to prioritise such degrees.

If I had my time again I would think twice before going down the route I did. Maybe these days it is smarter to go down the route of obtaining vocational qualifications at the same time as building experience with an employer. Paid to study, no eye watering tuition fees to pay back, building work track record and career progression. What’s not to like?

David Cawthorne, Cedar Human Resources

If you need advice please e-mail David at
Posted in Human Resources Blog