What Was the Report?
The report was written by The Sutton Trust and predominately focused on the earnings of apprentices and how apprenticeships can be improved in the future. However it also uncovered some interesting statistics about potential future wages of graduates depending on which university they went to.
The report focused on
Oxford and Cambridge (or Oxbridge for short), universities in the Russell Group and then other universities. What is the Russell Group we hear you ask? This group is comprised of 24 universities that are seen as being research intensive and world-class in its teaching.
The Boston Consulting Group, who did the calculations you’re about read, based their final numbers on the cost of going to university and average debt acquired.
What Did it Find?
The report found that students from Oxbridge or a university from
the Russell Group can earn up to £10,000 more than students with degrees from other universities or in apprenticeships.
Breaking down the numbers on average, Oxbridge students will earn £46,000 a year, Russell Group students will earn £40,000 and graduates of other universities will earn around £36,000. That’s a huge difference of £10,000 between Oxbridge, Russell Group and other universities. School leavers with A Levels but no degree will earn around £23,000 a year, and students will no qualifications will be around £16,000 a year.
When this is factored over a lifetime, the average earnings are £1,788,140 for Oxbridge students, £1,597,610 for Russell Group universities and £1,385,260 for other universities. Although these estimated wages don’t take particular locations or individual sectors into account.
In fact the university thinktank
million+ has criticised the report’s findings, with its Chief Executive Pam Tatlow, saying that, "Lifetime earnings are affected by a range of factors, not least social background and some students enter university with many more advantages than others".
What About Apprenticeships?
The report was particularly interested in apprenticeships, and how more can be done to encourage students to do them and ensuring they get the best education from it.
Apprenticeships come in levels which are equivalent to different qualifications. These are:
Level 2 – GCSE
Level 3 -
AS and A Levels Level 4 – Certificate of higher education
Level 5 – Foundation degree
Level 6 – Bachelor’s degree
Level 7 – Master’s degree
Level 8 -
Although the government has promised to create an extra 3m extra apprenticeships by 2020, The Sutton Trust are concerned that the majority will be Level 2, and not enough will be at
degree level, especially as only 30,000 higher level apprenticeships have been created so far. In fact in 2014/2015, 60% of apprenticeships were Level 2, 37% at Level 3 and only 3% were between Levels 4-7.
But considering Level 5 students can earn £1,437,130 over a lifetime (more than other universities that aren’t in the Russell Group), The Sutton Trust want more promotion of apprenticeships and a reform of its qualification system.
Should I Change My University Choice?
your university options now? Don’t be. This report isn’t set in stone, it’s meant to give a general idea of potential salary differences based on existing data. Circumstances may change, especially as higher education proposals are constantly being made and governments continue to have new ideas about how to improve education at all levels.
Besides, these figures don’t dictate either your future or your future salary. Your decisions make that, not a report, and money isn’t everything anyway.
There’s no point going to a university you have no desire to go to like just because you MIGHT earn more money in the future. It’s much better to attend a university that sparks your interest where you’ll actually enjoy your time there.
So if you want to go to a non Russell Group University, go for it! If you do want to attend a Russell Group university, or want to pack your bags and head to Oxbridge, then do that! Or if you’d rather do Level 6 apprenticeships, go for that instead! The world is your oyster and all that!