Will this degree get me a high-paying job? - Macleans.ca

Will this degree get me a high-paying job?

British students will soon be able to answer that question


Britain’s government plans to rank universities using graduate employment rates and starting salaries in a bid to “name and shame” programs whose graduates aren’t finding good jobs, reports The Telegraph.

Students who want to pick a degree that will give them better job prospects currently have little to go on, said David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities. He explained that future students “will be able to see [that] ‘if I do biological sciences at one university, I have got a much better chance of a job in a pharmaceutical company than if I do biological sciences at a different university.”

Eventually, a website will allow students to comparison shop by letting them compare tuition rates alongside genuine salary and employment figures. The plan comes after the government faced protests for raising the cap on tuition fees, sending many up to the new maximum of $14,000 per year. (In comparison, average tuition in Canada is $6,500.)

Program-specific salary and employment data is not readily available in Canada. In Ontario, schools must release information on how many students are employed, but there are no details available on whether they’re working in their chosen field — or how much they’re being paid.

That lack of information may have contributed to unrealistic expectations about what students will make five years after starting work. A 2010 survey of 24,000 Canadian students found that university students were expecting an average salary of $70,000 within five years of graduation. In reality, those aged 25 to 30 average $45,000 and those aged 31 to 35 average $51,000.