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Almost half of U.K. graduates take jobs that don't need a degree

Posting in Education
Student debt is a bitter pill to swallow, but that is the price you often pay for higher education. However, when a degree no longer guarantees you a better job, is university worth the financial struggle? 

Unlike many educational systems around the globe which require students to pay back thousands of debt the moment they leave university -- or ones that are so expensive that the bank of mum and dad must be pillaged -- U.K. students do have an advantage or two. Student fees may have tripled in the past few years, but bursaries do help some students. As you only pay back fees once you reach a salary bracket of £21,000 or more, it isn't all bad news. 

However, many former students are finding themselves in roles which either do not make this low salary bracket, or only just. According to new figures released from The Office for National Statistics (ONS), a staggering 47 percent of degree-holders are in roles which do not require such qualifications. 

The ONS says that while degree holders are more likely to secure work on the whole, the number of recent graduates in non-graduate positions has risen to 47 percent from 37 percent in 2001 -- and most of the increase took place just after the 2008-2009 recession. 

In October, U.K. Prime Minister said that students should be more "fussy" about their choice of degree in order to improve their job prospects. In particular, so-called "Mickey Mouse" degrees -- which despite names like "Golf studies" or "David Beckham studies" are meant to confer transferable skills, should no longer be spurned, according to the Prime Minister. Cameron said: 

"For many years there's been a snobbery in this country about some degrees. They were called music studies or golf course management and people thought there must be something wrong with these degrees. Frankly we're now going to find out which degrees really benefit people. It will get rid of that snobbery. Because there are some students who make a bigger contribution on fees, I think quite rightly students are more fussy what it is their putting themselves in for." 
The question is whether working your way up the ladder or spending thousands on a qualification is the better option.

Via: BBC

Image credit: Flickr

— By on November 19, 2013, 6:07 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure