Does Getting a Degree Guarantee a Job?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Going to university and getting a degree is a popular option for students leaving school and college. In 2018 just under 2.5 million students were studying at higher education institutions. And this leaves many young people wondering how their degree will help them to get a job.

Here at Developing a Student, we firmly believe in the value of education for everybody. We believe that everybody who wants to should get the chance to go to university and study something they enjoy. However, there are two essential things to remember. Firstly, having a degree isn’t the only way to find a meaningful and successful career, and secondly, having a degree alone doesn’t guarantee a job.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has caused rising rates of unemployment for graduates and those aged 16-24. Competition for jobs is extremely high, and this has left many graduates feeling deflated about the value of their degree. We want students and graduates to recognise all the fantastic things they can take from their degree while also recognising what else you may need to secure a job.

Why a degree will help you to find a job: 

There are several reasons why having a university degree will help you to secure a job that you enjoy.

  • Subject knowledge:

By going to university, you are studying to become an expert in your field. This means that you will have an excellent level of knowledge in your subject when you leave university, including its application to the world. This will be extremely desirable to employers as you will have already done the groundwork for the role.

  • Skills:

Not only will you have developed the specialist knowledge and skills in your subject and field, but university also develops many of your vital soft skills that employers are desperate for in the workplace. Whatever you study at university, you learn how to think critically, analyse information, answer questions, expand on your opinions, communicate your thoughts and reflect on opposing ideas.

  • Life Experience:

Going to university is not just about academic learning; it’s also the chance for you to develop and grow as a person. At university, you learn independence, you meet new people, you learn to organise your time, and for many people, you adapt to living in a new place. These life experiences will be beneficial when applying for any job.

Why having a degree alone won’t guarantee you a job? 

It’s also important to remember why having a degree alone isn’t always enough to get a job.

This is the most important reason why university doesn’t always guarantee a job. Many employers report a skills gap in graduates; this means that while they have excellent knowledge, they often lack the practical skills and experience needed to do the job. You can get work experience during university, in your holidays, or after university to supplement your degree.

  • Competition:

The competition level for graduate jobs is extremely high, which means that having a degree isn’t always enough to guarantee a job. Many of the people applying for the same jobs as you will also have a degree. This means you need to know how to write an excellent application to present your skills clearly to the employer

  • Not all degrees are relevant:

Some jobs may not even require a degree, so having a degree won’t guarantee you get the job over somebody who doesn’t have a degree. If you have a career in mind before going on to higher education, make sure you do your research to know exactly what qualifications and experience you need.

If you are thinking about going to university, look at our resources for choosing a degree and a university, as well as our guide to the top ten universities in the UK.


Last Updated: Tuesday March 2 2021
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