The idea of taking a career break in order to do a postgraduate degree may be pretty enticing – but will it actually be worth it? And if you do, is it better to do an MBA – or is a PhD a more worth it?
Salary benchmarking site Emolument.com has pitted MBAs against PhDs. Spoiler: it looks like the more vocational of the two is a better bet.
According to the research, after five to nine years' experience, both MBAs and PhDs tend to push salaries up by an equivalent amount, around 40 per cent, compared with those with just a bachelors degree.
But as MBAs take less time to complete than PhDs (between one and two years, compared with four to six years for a PhD), overall they are seen as more beneficial, allowing graduates to begin their careers (not to mention start paying off their fees) far sooner.
|Degree||Average salary after 5-9 years|
But there was one difference: PhDs with maths or statistics specialisms can earn twice as much as those with a bachelors degree. Some 78 per cent of grads with doctorates in those areas work in finance or consulting, the research suggested. Meanwhile, more than 70 per cent of those with computer science PhDs work in finance or technology – in which doctorates are in high demand.
But if you're planning on getting a PhD in humanities to boost your salary, don't bother: it doesn't matter which degree you have, you're likely to be paid the same, the research suggested.
|Chemistry & Natural Sciences||£41,000||£46,000||£46,000|
|Fine Arts & Design||£31,000||£33,000||–|
|Humanities (History, Geography, Politics…)||£43,000||£44,000||£40,000|
|Management & Strategy||£42,000||£52,000||£65,000|
|Mathematics & Statistics||£60,000||£75,000||£112,000|
|Media, Marketing & Communication||£36,000||£40,000||–|
|Physics, Life Sciences & Healthcare||£36,000||£46,000||£50,000|
|Purchasing & Supply Chain||£36,000||£41,000||–|
"There are two very different paths when it comes to PhD graduates' return on investment," said Alice Leguay, Emolument.com's co-founder.
"On the one hand technical subjects can open doors in the top-end of the finance industry, and on the other a more academic humanities-related degree is unlikely to lead to an uptick in pay. With this knowledge in hand, the relevant question is: 'Is it worth it to you?'."