Yes, there is evidence to show that people with a higher education qualification do earn more than those without!
Of course there is debate about the figures, and they can vary widely between surveys and subjects, but recent Graduate Labour Market Statistics from the Department for Education found that the average graduate earns £10,000 more each year than the average non-graduate. Even when accounting for differences based on factors such as age, gender, geographic region, employment sector, degree class and subject, this difference means that over their lifetimes, most graduates do earn substantially more than non-graduates.
There are a number of reasons why graduates earn more.
Graduates are less likely to be unemployed and often have a wider choice of jobs. The Graduate Labour Market Statistics show that in 2017 87.5% of graduates were employed compared with 71.1% of non-graduates.
Graduates are more likely to be in senior and skilled (so better paid) employment – according to the Graduate Labour Market Statistics, over 65% of graduates were working in highly skilled employment in 2017 compared with only 22% of non-graduates.
Employers often look for people with graduate-level skills, irrespective of their degree subject.
In the future, there’s expected to by nearly two million more jobs for those in higher skilled occupations. The average qualification level is expected to rise within all occupations – in fact, by 2024, around 54% of people in employment are expected to have a qualification at Level 4 or above. You can find out more in the Working Futures report.
The qualification you gain and higher skills you develop will give you an edge in the job market and help you progress in your career. So despite the costs involved, as you can see, higher education is considered a good investment in your future.