Having a degree is typically seen as a standard requirement for people starting out on the career path.
However, according to latest research the cost, in time and money, involved in getting the coveted qualification doesn’t really pay off.
A report commissioned by the Sutton Trust revealed that graduates from Oxford and Cambridge will, over their lifetimes, earn an average of £46,000 annually, compared with £41,000 earned by other Russell Group graduates, and just under £36,000 by graduates from other universities.
Another study by Satsuma, looking at graduate income after study, found that although expectations were in line with reality, there is a fair amount of discontent, with less than a quarter of graduates agreeing that salaries were fair for the current cost of living.
Exactly half of those surveyed felt starting salaries were not at all in line with the cost of living, regardless of geographical variances in living costs, and 49 per cent of those surveyed said they lived with parents during their first graduate job, just to sustain themselves until they get their first pay rise.
A spokesperson for Satsuma said: “Our research has found that a whopping 46 per cent of graduates would go as far as to say that they actually feel embarrassed about their level of income.
“ With the average debt for university leavers now at £44,000, apprentices who bypass a degree and learn on the job, may actually find themselves better off in the long run.”
Lucy Aspden (inset)attended both Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire, and now works as an online journalist. Although based in London, she had to move back to Preston to work remotely because she couldn’t afford the cost of living in the capital.
She says a degree “massively” influenced her career, adding: “It helped me confirm what I wanted to do, and ultimately got me the job.”
She adds: “When I got my job I had to move to London. However, after two years of struggling with the cost of living. I had to make the decision to move back up north to Preston.
“The company was very accommodating and I now work (still fully employed) remotely from home for three weeks a month, and spend one week a month in London.”
Lucy adds: “I’d say my cost of living has been cut by half, if not more, by moving back up north in the past year.”