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Career Advice

2015 Graduates could earn £500K more in a lifetime

Will 2015 graduates earn more than their non-graduate peers?

If there is one employment topic that has been at the forefront of discussions over the past few years (and particularly during the economic downturn) it’s whether or not having a degree actually helps boost employability and earning potential.

As money has become scarcer and belts have tightened, countless eminent thinkers have weighed in on this important issue, with the main train of thought following that a person’s professional experience, as well as ability, play an equally important role in determining career success.

However a recent analysis conducted by job search engine Adzuna.co.uk has contested this assumption by revealing that today, jobseekers without a degree can expect their average annual salary to be some £12,000 per year less than 2015 graduates.

graduatesWe’re sure you’ll agree that this is quite a hefty amount, which over the course of an entire working lifetime amounts to £500,000, leading to the rather shocking headline, that people with degrees will earn on average £½ million more in their lifetime than those without one.

The report has come to these conclusions based on an examination of 1,000,000 live job vacancies, looking specifically at the salaries on offer for both graduate and non-graduate positions.

But, as you would expect, the results of Adzuna’s investigations are not quite as clear-cut as the numbers would suggest, with quite significant discrepancies existing between degree level positions within different fields and industries.

For example, the best paid positions for new graduates are found within the so-called STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) with those qualifying with a degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Maths, or Mechanical Engineering all expected to earn £40K+ in their first year of work after graduation.  The lowest paid subject areas for graduates see an average salary of around half this figure, with those holding degrees in Hospitality and Tourism, Business Studies, Sport Science, Photography, and Health and Social care, expected to earn on average <£25K in their first year of employment.

Good news for 2015 graduates?Job Hunter

Not exactly.  Whilst this analysis clearly shows that there is significant earning benefits afforded to people with degrees, this only applies if they are actually able to get a graduate level role, something which remains a rather challenging prospect.

Last week we reported that there has been a 16% increase in the number of entry level graduate positions on the job market, but the number of positions still pales in comparison to the number of graduates chasing them.

For example in June 2015 there were just under 68,000 graduate positions being advertised, this appears in stark contrast to an estimated 350,000 2015 graduates being churned out by UK universities at the end of the academic year.  This leaves an enormous deficit between the number of vacancies available, and the number of graduates applying for them.

But despite the void between the number of jobs available and the number of graduates applying for them, the situation has improved substantially compared with the same time last year.   Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, has issued advice to employers in light of the changing job market this summer.

“Employers looking to recruit recent graduates need to act more decisively than a year ago, as the best talent is being hoovered up rapidly. Offering internships is one way to make a company stand out, without the bottom-line impact of the traditional route: offering more competitive salaries. Aside from helping develop the skills of our youth, internships provide a good pipeline of future talent for a firm. Being proactive with hiring pays dividends.”

Bad news for non-graduates?job-wanted (1)

Not necessarily!  Whilst on average, non-graduates can expect to earn less than their degree-holding peers, this rule is by no means universally applicable. There are plenty of careers in which someone without a degree level education can earn as much, if not more, than those who do hold a degree. .

Equities trading roles topped the list of best-paying professions that don’t require a degree with an average yearly salary of £59,475. Mining Construction, Air Traffic Controllers, Offshore Oil Platform Work and Military Security also rank highly with expected salaries of well in excess of £40K.

If you are one of the 2015 graduates, you might like to take a look at some of these recent posts;

Top tips for graduates to succeed in life

5 Ways for graduates to get work experience

CV tips for graduates- How to avoid being over qualified


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