Many graduates feel they could have got their current job with a vocational qualification instead of a degree
For many students, university is the obvious next step after sixth form. But with fees rising beyond £9000 this year, a new study shows that university is not always the best way to get a good job.
The study from credit comparison site TotallyMoney.com shows that a wide range of careers are available to those with a vocational qualification, and your chances of gaining employment afterwards could be higher than if you’d gone to university.
Degree or not degree
The survey found that 47% of respondents wished they had looked into other options before pursuing a degree, with the vast majority of those saying that the debt they had incurred as a result made it hard to see the value of the qualification. And 55% of respondents between ages 31–35 (the oldest age group surveyed) still had outstanding student debt.
Among those who pursued a vocational qualification rather than an academic degree, 43% didn’t have any regrets about their choice, while 19% felt they missed out on the social experience, but felt the degree itself wouldn’t have been worthwhile.
The best jobs without a degree
A degree isn’t necessary to get a good job. Here are some of the best-paid, most available starter positions for those with an apprenticeship or other vocational qualification? Check out the top five:
- Service engineer – service engineers often visit client sites to install or repair hardware. They have a starting salary of £28,138* and are in high demand across the country.
- Maintenance engineer – maintenance engineers optimise equipment to make sure it’s more reliable and safe – and have a starting salary of £31,848*, though only half as many jobs available as service engineers.
- Assistant manager – retail positions have the benefit of being in steady demand, and working as an assistant manager offers a starting salary of £21,190*.
- Business analyst – with the highest starting salary found in the research (£43,796*), business analysts assess company business models and ensure they’re integrated with the latest technology and procedures.
- Customer service assistant – a common starter position for many, working directly with customers is a good entry position for a longer career, and has a starter salary of £17,310*.
“Most people think university is the only way to go,” said Joe Gardiner, TotallyMoney.com’s head of brand and communications, “but this research shows that just isn’t the case. There are lots of opportunities out there that don’t need a degree – and vocational qualifications can be much more relevant to the work. And with so many still in student debt, it can even be the cheaper option.”
To browse the world of education outside of university, please click here
*Totallymoney.com used the Government’s official list of approved apprenticeship schemes to create a list of qualifications and potential careers. They then found what levels were available for the apprenticeships, as well as NVQs, BTECs, A-Levels, diplomas and certificates. Costs and times for these courses were found through government and student sources – as most courses had no fixed time requirements, the usual time taken was used. They used Indeed.co.uk to find the number of relevant entry-level jobs available across the UK, as well as the average salary for careers with those titles. All information was sourced on 23 November 2016.