Study shows university degrees are no guarantee of a good job

Free online college is becoming a thing of the past, with some universities offering only part-time degrees in the UK. 

 But a new study finds the majority of graduates still can’t get on the labour market. 

The UK’s largest university, London Metropolitan University, which operates more than 50,000 student courses, has said it plans to cut the number of part-timers by a third in 2020 and increase the number to 200 by 2022. 

In the UK, part- and full-time students now account for almost half of the workforce, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). 

The findings are the latest to show that university degrees do not guarantee a good career. 

A report by the UK’s National Union of Students in 2013 found that only 18% of university graduates got a job after two years. 

More recently, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the average wage of university graduate students rose to £28,000 in the past year, up from £18,000 five years ago. 

But the findings of the HESA report, which also shows that there is no evidence that part- time work is linked to higher unemployment, also point to the fact that students are often the most likely to be unemployed, said Mark Gurney, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the University of Kent.

“We’re not just seeing people leaving the university in droves, but people leaving school and dropping out of school,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It’s not that they’re not going to go to work in their 20s, it’s that the job market is not looking to them.”

‘Unfair’ and ‘discriminatory’ The HESA research, published in the British Journal of Sociology, found that part time work was the biggest barrier to job-seeking among the 18-24 age group. “

It doesn’t seem like it’s changing, but it is.” 

‘Unfair’ and ‘discriminatory’ The HESA research, published in the British Journal of Sociology, found that part time work was the biggest barrier to job-seeking among the 18-24 age group. 

“There’s no question that if we want to get to grips with the real problems of unemployment in the 21st century, the labour supply is going to have to change,” said Gurny. 

Gurney told Today: “This study says the main reason for the drop in university graduates is the reduction in part-times.” 

But he added that while the government needs to increase the supply of part time jobs, the university graduates should not be forced to find full- time jobs. 

“[We] need to recognise that the majority are still going to want to go into the labour force and find a job in the future,” he said. 

However, he said that if the government really wanted to make universities more attractive to young people, it should make them more competitive.

“I’m not saying that there are no jobs out there, there are jobs out for people, but what is it going to cost to make that job available to young and healthy people?” he said, pointing to the government’s recent decision to introduce a cap on university tuition fees, which has led to more young people opting to study. 

It is not the first time that the number and types of jobs offered to university graduates have been questioned by the government. 

When the government introduced the cap on fees in 2014, it was widely condemned by both the education industry and universities. 

After the cap was lifted, a survey by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that more than 70% of graduates were either unemployed or underemployed. 

According to the study, a full 70% said that they had been laid off and another 30% had been offered a job at a lower wage. 

Another survey by Oxford University’s Higher Education Policy Centre in 2014 found that in the six months to June 2015, about half of graduates had been told by employers that they could not get a job. 

That figure rose to 77% in the month after the government raised tuition fees. 

Meanwhile, the Government also said in December last year that the university levy would be reintroduced in the autumn of this year. 

HESA says it has been analysing job applications for a year, and said the number has risen by almost 10% since the start of the year.

“The rise in job applications is not simply down to an increase in the number in the survey, but also because many people have already applied for work,” Gurnys said.

“There is a clear and increasing perception that job seekers have to go through this ordeal of having to prove themselves in order to be offered a work permit.” 

More to come…