The job market isn’t what it used to be, and gone is the guarantee of landing the job you studied for, whether you have one or multiple degrees. A lot of today’s students are wondering – is uni worth it? What’s waiting for me at the finish line? The good news is that a better job and salary is only the tip of the iceberg.
Greater employability is pretty much a given – but you may be curious as to how this employment might take place. According to 2015 statistics from Graduate Careers Australia, 68.8% of graduates found full time work just four months after completing their degree. Three years down the track, that number rose again, reporting that 89.2% of graduates found full time work. So if you’ve completed a degree, it’s highly likely you’ll gain full time employment, even after four short months out in the real world. Majority of the time, graduates gained these jobs through Internet job sites.
Greater lifetime earnings
As for starting salaries, graduates who were Australian residents under 25 years of age, and in their first full time job were reportedly earning an average of $54,000. The AMP/NATSEM report ‘Smart Australians’ (2012) reveals that university graduates tend to see a steep income growth as they progress through their career, while less educated people tend to see only slight increases in salary. The total lifetime earnings of a bachelor degree holder (projected from age 25) are estimated to be 1.7 times more than someone who finished their education at year 11 or below. In figures, that translates to $2.9 million vs. $1.74 million over a lifetime.
Better life choices
You might be surprised to learn that going to university, even if you don’t graduate, can have a powerful psychological influence on students. The Lumina Foundation created a report in 2012 called ‘It’s Not Just The Money’, which compiled the findings of dozens of recent studies, and concluded that the university experience can change a person’s entire way of thinking for the better.
Compared to those who never attended university, the study found that people who did attend were 3.9 times less likely to smoke, 4.9 times less likely to be imprisoned, 61% less likely to get divorced, and were generally less likely to become obese.
University attendees were also found to be 44% more likely to describe their health as very good or excellent, 21% more likely to get married, and significantly more likely to exercise, have a good diet, wear a seat belt, and use preventative medical care.
So, why is it that the university experience has such an influence on the choices we make? It’s likely that because university teaches advanced critical and lateral thinking skills, students are better able to visualise the future, deconstruct complex issues and solve problems. This could also extend to making smart business decisions, which could result in higher wealth, and therefore, the capacity to buy better quality food and health care.
Ambitious and motivated children
According to a recent study out of the US, attitudes towards education tend to have a ripple effect. If you hold education in high regard, it’s likely that your kids will too. According to the ‘Next America’ poll, run by the College Board and National Journal, 76% of children who have two college graduates for parents end up going to college too. As for the children whose parents stopped education after high school, only 37% of them went to college.
These behavioural patterns reveal that a child only values academic success if their peers – including parents, family and friends – value it too. So, if you’re hoping your children will go onto tertiary study, a great way to motivate them is by setting a good example.
Greater contribution to society
It’s not just the individual that benefits from going to university – it’s also society at large that sees improvement. Those with degrees tend to earn higher salaries, which means they’re contributing more money towards government services through tax. According to the Lumina Foundation report (America-based), graduates rely 39% less on taxpayer money than non-graduates. They are also 2.3 times more likely to volunteer, they’re twice as likely to work in a non-profit organisation, and they’re significantly more involved in politics and community activity.
A university degree isn’t the only answer to securing your dream job, but it’s certainly a smart route to take. There are more benefits to reap than just employability and salary potential, which will serve you well in every facet of life. So study on with confidence, and enjoy the benefits to come.