We rely on advertising to keep the lights on.

Please consider adding us to your whitelist.



Advanced search

To think that if more people that get a degree it devalues it

(91 Posts)
Ohbehave1 Thu 18-Aug-16 08:35:47

Congrats to all those whose DC's have got the grades tongs to uni.

I was wondering having just seen that record numbers have got university places if too the number of people now attending uni and getting good grades devalue them in some way. It used to be that some people went, some didn't and if you had a degree it gave you an advantage in the work market. Now it doesn't seem to.

AIBU to think that a university education isn't worth what it used to be.

RealityCheque Thu 18-Aug-16 08:39:26

You are correct.

This obsession within recent governments for everyone to go to uni is ludicrous and has created skills shortages in vocational and trade work.

There are now plenty of people with degrees working in Macdonald's / retail etc in minimum wage.

PaperdollCartoon Thu 18-Aug-16 08:46:21

Y sort of NBU. Yes it does devalue them somewhat, depending on what sort of degree it is. A nursing or teaching degree is just that, they're always worth something.

But with academic subjects it is different. Whereas in 1980 any degree was good and if you had one you could walk into any job, now you generally need a 2:1 or above from at least a top 30 university. My company generally only hires people with 2:1 or above from top 20s unless they have a lot of relevant experience post uni. If you want to get into a top firm for law, banking, etc, less than that generally won't be good enough these days.

Now about 40% of people have a degree, the largest group by far, but that many jobs don't need degrees, meaning those that really do can skim off the top, leaving lots of people with degrees frustrated that they can't really use them and end up in jobs that they could have done without a degree. It's also lead to more companies saying they want degrees when they're actually a bit unnecessary (I studied this area for my dissertation for my degree)

There should be a refocus on more high level technical training rather than such a push towards academic degrees, especially when they cost so much.

icy121 Thu 18-Aug-16 08:46:41

If it's a degree in an accredited course with a definite career path then it's worth going. Or a degree in something that's highly valued (maths at Durham or economics at LSE say). Unfortunately a lot of people going to do degrees are being sold a pup; quasi-arts degrees (eg human geography or sociology or even standard English, history, history of art etc) at a non-top 5 institution doesn't lend itself obviously into a job, it's mainly women who do arts courses and the sort of employment you go into after (recruitment, sales) doesn't need a degree at all.

Ultimately it costs just as much to do media at Oxford brookes as it does to do Engineering at Oxford, but it seems obvious to me who is likely to get the benefit of the degree (and stand a chance of paying the loan back).

I went to university in 05, the last year to pay £1,200 a year in fees. I'd do my degree again because it was what I needed to go on to be a chartered surveyor. I've a friend who did an arts course and went on to be a copper (life long dream, it's a vocation). Friend didn't need the degree to join, but wanted to experience uni. That's fine when it cost £3,600 (plus all the living expense of course) but doubt they'd do it now the tuition would be £27k alone.

Fuckingmoles Thu 18-Aug-16 08:48:08

Yes - DD and most of her friends plan to do an MA when they complete their degree next year - this seems to be the new norm whereas in my day it was unusual.

Friends' children without contacts have struggled to get graduate jobs even with good degrees from RG unis

cexuwaleozbu Thu 18-Aug-16 08:52:48

You have a point but education and employment isn't a "zero sum game" with a fixed number of jobs and a fixed ratio of whether these are graduate jobs or unskilled.

Theoretically our 40% of young people with degrees should be creating an environment where new and innovative businesses can be started up and start thriving, creating new kinds of jobs that don't currently exist, leaving the unskilled jobs to the less educated.

This requires investment of course. Austerity isn't helping.

noblegiraffe Thu 18-Aug-16 08:55:20

And yet there is still a shortage of STEM qualified graduates.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 18-Aug-16 09:02:13

Not necessarily, no.

Back before the NHS started, there were fewer qualified doctors, because more people couldn't afford a doctor. We now have demand for more doctors, so far more people do medical degrees. I don't believe that means that the standard has dropped, do you?

StormyTeaCup Thu 18-Aug-16 09:05:43

YANBU. I needed a masters just to get an interview for a fairly standard graduate position and that was 10 years ago hmm

PaperdollCartoon Thu 18-Aug-16 09:41:28

I have a sociology degree from a top 10 and work for a top firm. Sociology degrees from good institutions, especially ones that included social research are regarded more highly these days. All the critical thinking of history but with more statistics, lots of transferable skills.

TheWhompingWilly Thu 18-Aug-16 09:45:38

Some standards have definitely dropped. When I went to Uni, it took three years full-time study to obtain a BA (Hons). Someone I work with recently did a BA (Hons) in Early Years education and was able to complete it in one year, part-time. Technically, we have the same level of degree but there's no way they can be equal.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 18-Aug-16 09:47:29

When I did mine, years ago, a small percentage of people went to university and there were practical skills based training places for many. Then came Tony Blair's insistence that 50% should go and a range of less academic courses erupted.

What's the point of going if you can't get a job afterwards, either because you're too qualified, or because others have gone into training on the job courses and there are no places left for graduates.

IceBeing Thu 18-Aug-16 09:51:15


The increase in job prospects associated with a degree are not its 'value'.

The education at university (the subjects, the methodology of learning and the life skills) are the value in a uni degree.

TheWhompingWilly Thu 18-Aug-16 09:54:46

Another problem is that high fees/no grants now mean that many students live at home and go to a local university. They may come out with a good degree but they are missing out on an amazing experience of living away from home in a community of students. Makes me very glad I did my degree years ago but sad for my own DC who might not get the same experience.

Misselthwaite Thu 18-Aug-16 10:01:17

I don't get this argument that someone else's educational achievement somehow devalues another. Surely increasing levels of education across the population is a good thing. The alternative is to restrict access to education which is never a good thing.

I do agree that you need to carefully consider your future career before embarking on a degree.

TheWhompingWilly Thu 18-Aug-16 10:28:11

Misselthwaite, the problem is that some degrees have been made easier to allow more people to obtain them, but they're still all called a degree/BA. Imagine it as a quiz. Some teams have to do 10 rounds and answer 100 questions. Other teams only have to do 1 round and answer 10 questions, yet everyone wins £50. The ones who did 10 rounds will feel short-changed because they had to do more work than the others. The 10 question people might not be able to answer the 100 questions but, to an outsider, it seems that they are because they have won the same £50.

I completely agree with you that increasing levels of education is a good thing and everyone should be able to reach their full potential. I just think that lumping a broad range of qualifications together under the same title of 'degree', devalues it.

Ohbehave1 Thu 18-Aug-16 10:36:12

Mistlethwaite. The more there is of something the less it is worth. If 1 person obtains a degree it's worth in the job place (sorry Icebeing but that is part of its value) is a lot more than if 500 people get it.

It used to be that a degree was the stepping stone to a better job. Now it doesn't seem to be so. Look at the increasing number of graduates that fail to gain employment.

noeuf Thu 18-Aug-16 10:37:23

My arts degree 20 years ago was totally useless (2:1, red brick 'top' uni) without the back up of good careers advice and family input and connections. My mum was widowed, we knew no one to give me any kind of work experience and I had not a fucking clue where to start. Applied for graduate jobs and all came to nothing. Ended up in a job I could have trained for in house. I'm still bitter that my school (grammar) basically gave us careers advice consisting of a room full of uni prospectuses and asked us to pick.

myownprivateidaho Thu 18-Aug-16 10:42:24

I don't think there's any evidence that degrees have become easier to obtain. Link?

headinhands Thu 18-Aug-16 10:50:33

Yabu. It's a world economy. A society that has more graduates will attract investors in that field. I wonder if people thought this about reading and writing. "Not many jobs require writing, they'll be nothing special about writing if this carries on". As we've become more educated our industries have changed.

ghostyslovesheep Thu 18-Aug-16 10:50:49

you can't have it both ways really - if education keeps 'improving' as endless governments want it to the end result will be better educated kids going to HE.

I totally disagree that education is ever a waste (Sociology? - not a micky mouse subject at all btw) but I do agree that advice from an independent qualified careers adviser is essential

StackladysMorphicResonator Thu 18-Aug-16 10:52:16

myownprivateidaho Seriously? hmm

LunaLoveg00d Thu 18-Aug-16 11:04:17

Yes but there are degrees of degrees.

A 2:1 in a traditional subject like Law, Biology, French or English from a Russell Group or even redbrick Uni which existed pre-1990 is better than a 2:1 in something like American Studies, Performance Arts or Sports Management from an ex-poly or new University.

Employers aren't daft, they know that not all Unis are equal, not all entry requirements are the same and not all courses are as demanding.

In order to get into do a BSc Maths at (for example) University of Brighton, you need 280 UCAS points. They say a typical offer is BBC.

At Manchester Uni - a whole world away in terms of prestige and employability - the same BSc Maths course demands AAA at A-level, including an A in Maths and won't consider General Studies as a pass.

WyldChyld Thu 18-Aug-16 11:10:28

I also disagree about having to go to a top 20 university. I was at a new university (ex polytechnic type thing) and have been offered a highly coveted place on an incredible graduate scheme (think 300+ applicants for three or four places). My academics were very good (top of my year) granted but it doesn't mean you have to be at an RG uni

AuntJane Thu 18-Aug-16 11:18:35

To get a decent office job 40 years ago the general requirement was five O levels including English and Maths. A couple of A levels would probably get you fast-streamed into management.

To get a decent office job today, the general requirement is a 2:1 degree. For management roles a Master's may be considered, but a doctorate is preferred.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now