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Why A Degree Simply Isn’t Enough Anymore

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More and more people are going to university every year, despite course fees almost tripling in the last decade. There are fights for a place on a popular course, such as English, at a top Russell Group university yearly, and we are fast approaching the time where thousands of students across the UK will be receiving their all-important A Level results and heading off to the institution of their choice – depending on if they’ve made the grade. As the applications increase and the acceptance rates rise, what does this mean for the future of our jobs?

More Degrees = More Competition

It used to be standard practice for employers to pick the best candidates for the job, or at least be able to filter out who they needed, by stating that those who were applying needed a degree. A number of people who possess a degree currently means that put simply, you’re just not special enough anymore if you have one. It definitely puts you in a good stead for the jobs that require degrees, but the competition that you will be facing to get them can make the average graduate despondent. A good indication of a number of people that will be applying for the jobs that you are looking for is to recall how many there were sat in your lecture theatre whilst at university or to do a quick search of how many undertake your course each year. With the retirement age rising but more people graduating and looking for jobs, it’s almost turning into a Hunger Games situation; applicants are jumping through more and more hoops to get to where they need to be, and having to gain more experience in unpaid roles just to be able to fit the bill of the role that they are applying for. Even if that role doesn’t specify all of the extras that they have achieved.

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Rewarded By No Jobs

There are some sites online that will let you know just how many people are applying for the job that has interested you. This can be off putting – sometimes it is in the hundreds, if not thousands if it is an inner-city job which appeals to many. The increase in students graduating from university has come at a time where there isn’t enough growth in the market to sustain the sudden influx of those qualified to do jobs which simply don’t exist. So how do we go about getting around this? Specializing in a niche subject is an option, but also presents the problem of only being able to go down a specific line of work for the foreseeable future – and even then, the security of having a job waiting for you isn’t inevitable.

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Furthering Your Already Further Education

There are certain things that you can do in order to make you stand out from the crowd. How long does it take to get a masters degree in the whole scheme of things? Relating to the time that you will be spending looking for your perfect job, not long at all; it could take one or two years depending on the subject and how much time you want to commit to it. Increasing your subject knowledge with a master will definitely help you in your job prospects if aiming for a higher-rated career. There are masters courses that can be undertaken online now, meaning that you can work alongside studying – a brilliant option for those who are searching for alternative employment whilst already in work. Of course, you don’t have to stop at a masters degree; you could go on to do a fellowship or doctorate to really shine, although the commitment to studying rather than embarking on a career is often discouraging to the average student.

A Focus On Classification

The level of degree that you graduate you with has a direct impact on just how employable you are – but it’s all relative. Those with higher-rating degrees can go on to earn bursaries and grants in subjects such as teaching but are less employable at the end due to the higher deserved salary that employers aren’t willing to pay. But likewise, anything less than an upper-class second division degree (or a 2:1 in simpler terms) will see you battling for the jobs that those with a 2:1 are more likely to get. It’s a bit of a tricky situation; nobody likes to dumb them down, especially when it comes to graduating. But the truth is, sometimes employers are daunted by the option of hiring somebody who is proven smart on paper. There are places in which this is definitely not the case and where intelligence is the core of why they are hiring you, but for other jobs which operate on levels of pay grade in relation to the qualifications that you possess, it can, unfortunately, be a limiter.

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Alternative Routes … Guaranteed Employment?

It can be hard to look for a course that offers a guaranteed job at the end of it, but one of the most important things that you will need to ask the course provider that you are enrolling with is success rates – of those who have recently graduated from the university – in finding a job relating to their degree. Universities put extensive research into finding this information out in order to increase their course appeal; they are a money-making service after all, and a lack of promise in the courses that they offer means a loss of revenue for them. Apprenticeships are becoming a popular choice amongst those who don’t choose to go to university straight after school – but they are also becoming appealing to those who have already graduated as well. It offers a low and basic wage, but jobs are almost guaranteed at the end of it with the person you are training with. It’s not unheard of for people to have graduated from university and gone into an apprenticeship after a couple of years of job searching; the vocational offerings are often a far cry from what they have initially trained in, but practical jobs are definitely becoming more in demand.

Freelancers Don’t Need It

If you take your work freelance, those who are hiring your services won’t be looking at your qualifications – they’ll be looking at how good you are at what you do and how quick a turnaround you can give them. Freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular option, especially as we have the internet at hand to instantly connect us to prospective clients. We haven’t limited to a country anymore, and the information on going self-employed and submitting tax returns and everything else that goes hand in hand with the freelance life has been made readily available, so there’s never been a better time for it. A lot of the time, those who do go freelance have a degree to fall back on regardless; it’s through disenchantment with the workplace or an ability to find work in the first place that sees them in the position that they’re in currently.

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What can be learned from this? In essence, you will need a degree – unless you get another relevant qualification through an apprenticeship or another scheme – to get a job that fits the bill after university. However, if you want to stand a better chance, you need to build on the degree that you have got. Experience counts for a lot, and the more that you get, the better; take up every opportunity that comes your way and gets ready for a lifetime of learning.

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