Is University Worth It?: Survey Results From Recent Graduates

is uni worth it


  • 46% of postgraduates did not think that their university education was worth the money
  • Over 30% of surveyed postgraduates did not need a degree to do their current job
  • 63.05% of female postgraduate respondents stated that they are not using their specific degree in their career, compared to around 50% for male respondents
  • 61% of postgraduates in London strongly agreed that they needed their specific degree to undertake their current job responsibilities.


With unemployment in recent graduates increasing from 7% to 12% in 2020 (ONS, 2020), postgraduates across the country are now questioning whether their higher education was worth the money. The survey of 500 postgraduates reveals that nearly half (46%) of respondents did not view their university education as ‘worth it’.

Job market impacts from Covid-19 are being most felt by recent graduates, with a report from the Office For Students (2021) stating that 24.3% of postgraduates from the 2018-19 cohort did not go on to ‘professional employment’ or further studies within 15 months of graduating.




However, despite increases in graduate unemployment, historical data on graduate earnings from the Department for Education suggests that once the short-term impacts from coronavirus are over, recent graduates will start to see more value:

Working-age graduates aged 16-64 earned a median salary of £34,000 in 2018. Their non-graduate peers chose a different path earning a median salary of £24,000.

Commentary from Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment suggests that your subject of study and the university you attend also makes a difference as to how you value your education – with STEM subjects and the elite universities seeing the highest proportion of graduates in employment or further study immediately after graduating.

For the full results of the survey, please visit:


Rob Scott, Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment said:

“It is difficult to compare the cohorts of current postgraduates who leave University averaging over £40K p.a. of debt with the ‘Baby Boomers’ and ‘Gen X’, who generally didn’t pay for their tertiary education.  However, this data shows that beyond your mid-20s, a degree opens the door to higher-paying opportunities and therefore increases the likelihood of you feeling that higher education was ‘worth it’.”