Gaining a degree: business sense for young people?

The value of business degrees for those looking to earn a sizeable salary has long been a source of fierce debate: but they may be worth more than some want you to believe...

The value of business degrees for those looking to earn a sizeable salary has long been a source of fierce debate: but they may be worth more than some want you to believe…

The idea of becoming a veritable high-flier when you’re young seems about as likely as flying to Jupiter to set up a colony of ant people. Your mind is still malleable, you’ve got a lot of learn and, though you wouldn’t like to admit it, even the smallest task still seems daunting. 

These are the same kids we allow to make huge, life-altering choices – including whether they should head to university. 

Few major business operations will consider an applicant who doesn’t have a degree under their belt. But you’d never guess that from the media’s portrayal of university. 

Humanities degrees are viewed as a waste of time, STEM-led degrees the only way forward and all else in between little more than academic navel-gazing. Tabloids like the Daily Mail regularly claim universities are wasting taxpayers’ money and many leading institutions are forced to argue for their own relevance. 

Youths are bombarded with this information, all while being told there are few avenues to travel down apart from university. No wonder they’re confused. 

The prospects of a degree

However, statistics from the Sunday Times Good University Guide show that 61 per cent of employers value the degree a student acquires, while eight per cent valued the prestige of the university a graduate attended. 

Moreover, prospective students have more information at their fingertips to find out what employers desire. 

As of 2013, students planning to go to university can view Key Information Sets (KSIs) which show data issued by employers and employment experts detailing the most valued degrees available. 

Degrees themselves, then, are still wholly relevant. But younger people could be dissuaded from attending by one other important factor – the cost. 

Cost versus value

In the UK, many universities charge £9,000 in tuition fees. Leading institutions, according to representative Universities UK, would like the £9,000 cap removed altogether, allowing them to charge whatever price they deem fit. 

When loans, travel, utilities, rent, food and course texts are factored into the overall price, younger people could find themselves crippled by debt for a large portion of their lives. 

Yet according to student site Graduate Fog, “Nationally, half of employers (49 per cent) said they are more likely to favour a university graduate over someone without a degree when recruiting. 

“When asked how much they would pay a graduate and a non-graduate working in two identical roles, nearly one in five (18 per cent) said they would pay a graduate more, despite the job being exactly the same. In London, a quarter (25 per cent) said this.”

They’re heartening figures for anyone wondering what business prospects are in store for them after gaining a degree. 

Where a business degree will lead you

As the university clearing season rears its head, kids with less than great grades will be nervously awaiting confirmation about their desired course. Those entering into business-based degrees will find they’ve got a solid foundation in the fundamentals that companies desire, although degrees of a more specific nature can still impress the right employer. 

Employers are more receptive to degrees than a vast majority of media outlets would have you believe. So if you’re young and wondering where you’re headed, invest in a degree – it makes business sense.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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