• Peter Hogan

Skills or school-is university still worth it?

Updated: Dec 8, 2020




Some facts and figures about what employers and young people think about university.

Some firms no longer need staff to have degrees


Apple, Siemens, EY, Google, Penguin Random House, Facebook, Costco, Netflix, IBM, Hilton, BBC, Starbucks, Home Depot, Bank of America and Tesla say they no longer want degree holders for jobs that used to be only for graduates.


Drop-outs who become CEOs

  • The founders of Facebook, Uber, Dell, Dropbox, Whatsapp, Twitter and Apple all dropped out and now their firms hire hundreds of thousands around the world.

  • It is no surprise that these businesses are open-minded when it comes to the qualifications of employable and promotable staff.


Bosses unhappy with the skills and attitudes of some graduates

  • In a major survey of last year, employers said nearly a fifth of graduates are not ready for the workplace. They feel they are missing the crucial skills of leadership, negotiation, strategic thinking and planning.

  • The UK’s Confederation of British Industry found that 40% of employers are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the wider character, behaviours and attributes of school and college leavers.


Students unhappy with uni and how much it costs

  • In 2019, 12% of the students taking part in an international study stated the university experience was worse than they imagined.

  • In the UK, 5% of students in a Higher Education Policy Institute report said they wouldn’t enter Higher Education if they had the chance to start over.

  • 32% of students felt they were not getting value for money at university last year.

  • In the current pandemic and fees unaltered, understandable questions are bound to be asked about what students are paying for.

More are dropping out and earning less

  • In English universities, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, around 26,000 students did not finish the year first year.

  • In the United States, the dropout rate for undergraduates is a staggering 40% with approximately 30% dropping out before their sophomore year.

  • A 2017 long-term study found that dropouts spent most of the 8 years after leaving university with earnings lower than those who never entered university.


But going to uni still still pays…

  • Data from across the world shows a non-graduate median salary of just over half the median earnings of someone with a degree.


A longer version of this article appeared in Bangkok Life Magazine. See full article here: https://www.hogan.education/post/is-university-still-worth-it


Peter Hogan has been the Head of schools in the UK and Asia for 20 years. He writes about schools, teaching and learning here at hogan.education and can be contacted at peter@hogan.education


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