Is now a good time to study for a Master’s degree? Some information to help students decide.

Here at Arden we know the decision to undertake postgraduate study is a major one for all students.

After years of studying for a bachelors’ degree many graduates take some time away from studying to concentrate on their careers.

However the difficult post-Covid-19 jobs market is a huge challenge for students graduating this year and very different from the one students’ anticipated.

Many graduates are looking at how they can stand out and distinguish themselves from other job applicants or, if they’re already employed, rise higher in their current job role.

On completion of a master’s degree students will typically have one of two titles: Master of Arts (MA), or Master of Science (MSc).

It’s a mark of distinction in a crowded job market but students should do as much research as they can before making their choice.

We’ve pulled together some information from the very latest UK research and Higher Education sector reports to help make that decision a bit easier and to signpost potential postgraduate students to more information.

Post-Covid-19 - Recession or Depression!

The UK economy has been badly impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown and many employees face uncertainty over their jobs.
There is little doubt the UK economy, and economies around the world, will take years to recover to their pre-Covid-19 highpoints.

Although recession is predicted for most economies, some experts are warning of a harsher ‘depression’ for those hardest hit.

So what does that mean for students considering postgraduate study?

A report Postgraduate Education in the UK  in June 2020 from The Higher Education Policy Institute states that the recession following the 2007/08 financial crash witnessed a marked rise in Master’s take-up, as employment opportunities were restricted and people brought forward their plans to study.

Dr Ginevra House, author of the report, said: “With the shadow of a new recession ahead, combined with a rapidly changing, more automated job market, postgraduate education has never been more important, to build the highly skilled, knowledgeable, flexible and independent workforce needed to tackle the challenges of the future.”

The report also notes: “In the last crash, employment among those with postgraduate qualifications was slower to fall and faster to recover than for those with only a first degree, which may signal how the labour market will respond to the current COVID-19 crisis.” 

It’s all in the numbers…

According to Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures 2 from May 2020 78.9% of postgraduates were in ‘high-skilled employment’ in 2019, compared with 65.6% of working-age graduates and 23.9% of non-graduates.

The figures also show that annual median salaries for post-graduates was £42,000 pa compared to £34,000 pa for graduates and £25,000 pa for non-graduates.
But students must, rightly, consider the costs of postgraduate study and weigh that against the benefits.

Another recent survey by IDP Connect showed 41.4% of undergraduates surveyed were considering a postgraduate course. Almost 20% reported they were unsure if they had enough money to start a postgraduate course with 8.43% reporting concern over getting a job to financially support their studies. Respondents were most interested in financial help, either through financial support and waivers (18.97%), or by offering lower annual fees for online courses (16.67%).

On completion of a master’s degree students will typically have one of two titles: Master of Arts (MA), or Master of Science (MSc).
It’s a mark of distinction in a crowded job market but students should do as much research as they can before making their choice.

Here’s some further reading to help.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/nov/10/wo-degrees-better-than-one-career-prospects-postgraduate-students
 
https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2014/masters-with-a-purpose.pdf
 
https://execed.economist.com/blog/industry-trends/why-leaders-need-more-just-bachelors-degree

 

 

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