Will doing a master’s get you a better job?
Should you go for your master’s degree or should you join the workforce and gain experience? It’s a tough decision to make, one that can have important financial ramifications for years to come. This excellent article by The Guardian gives you an great overview of some of the pros and cons of pursuing a master’s degree. For example, candidates with master’s degrees sometimes feel they need to spell out to employers that recruiting someone with an additional qualification will benefit their organisation.
“Although the number of people studying at master’s level has increased rapidly over the past decade – 11% of 26- 60-year-olds in work have postgrad qualifications, compared with 4% in 1996 – few studies have looked at how this will affect an individual’s earnings over their lifetime.
Any financial boost is likely to vary according to a student’s subject area. “There are sectors where, in order to meet an appropriate professional level, you need a master’s – for example, a master’s in engineering is required for chartership – so naturally there’s a very big premium for having a master’s in engineering.
“There are other postgraduate courses where you can specialise in a field of work for example, by doing a master’s in social work, which will boost your employability in that profession.”
Speaking more broadly, however, there isn’t currently a general labour market for master’s qualifications, says Ball: “There might be one emerging, but it’s not there yet, which is why not many jobs are advertised as requiring a master’s degree.”
This means that many master’s graduates – especially those with generalist rather than vocational qualifications – will be competing against first degree graduates for jobs, agrees Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters.”