Is the increasing number of graduates a good thing?

In 1950 there were 19700 young people graduated with a degree, in 2019 that figure will be around 1.4 million.

However, is this increasing number of graduates actually a good thing?

There have certainly been a lot of winners with the expansion of Higher Education, which is now big business in the UK.

More graduates has meant more money flowing into Universities (albeit from private rather than public sources, more of that later), and many of these have expanded, which has resulted in an increase in teaching jobs and various support jobs in the HE sector.

And there is a whole industry surrounding meeting students’ needs – most obviously the need for student accommodation, but also a whole host of local businesses in university towns will be partially or wholly dependent on student expenditure. The student subsistence economy is estimated to be worth £95 billion annually.

However, in 2018 only 57% of young graduates went onto ‘higher skilled employment’, while 43% ended up unemployed or in jobs which previously would not have required a degree, such as nursing.

This means that almost half of today’s graduates could be victims of what we might call ‘qualification inflation’, and rather than going straight into work at 18 and training/ qualifying on the job while earning, they are now effectively forced into having three years of no or low earnings while they study for unnecessary qualifications while being saddled with student loan debts of tens of thousands of pounds.

A final little known fact is that around 1/2 of student loans are never repaid, which means that the taxpayer is effectively subsidising these unnecessary degrees, and there does seem to be a disturbing correlation between the half of students doing unnecessary degrees and the half of loans not repaid.

This means that the taxpayer is subsidising around half a million students a year to do degrees that are in no way related to their jobs, while a good chunk of this money gets sucked upwards, to universities and landlords.

Seems like a hidden case of the state subbing the elite by stealth, while conning almost half of university students?!?

Source: The Week 7 December 2019.

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