University degree gives workers £9,000 labour market premium

Chris Papadopoullos
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Postgraduates earn £40,000 a year on average across the working-age population

Graduates earn £9,000 a year more than non-graduates, research released yesterday by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows.

That figure covers the entire working-age population – ages 16 to 64. Young graduates, aged between 21 and 30, earn £6,000 more on average than their non-graduate counterparts.

Graduates also enjoy a higher employment rate. Among the working-age population, 87 per cent of graduates and post­grad­uates are in employment, compared with 70 per cent of non-graduates.

“These figures show that going to university is a great investment,” said Greg Clark, the universities, science and cities minister.

A common criticism made by economists is that the link is not necessarily a causal one. Students who get a degree tend to be smarter on average before they go to university. The figures do not control for that effect.

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