Degree holders better paid than non-graduates

Degree holders earned an average of £12,000 a year more than non-graduates over the past decade, research finds.

According to analysis from the Office for National Statistics, graduates aged 22 to 64 had median salaries of £30,000 compared with £18,000 for non-degree holders.

For those without a degree, earnings initially increased for each year of age but levelled off around the age of 30 and peaked at the age of 34, where earnings stood at £19,400. For those with a degree, earnings increased faster for each year of age. They also increased for longer, levelling off around the age of 35 and peaking at the age of 51 at £34,000.

Earnings for women, for both those with and those without a degree, levelled off at a younger age than for men with the same level of qualification.

Over the last decade, a male graduate could expect to earn on average 20 per cent more than a female graduate – however the gap was marginally wider for non-degree holders at 23 per cent.

In 2010, around one in three female graduates had a degree in either health-related studies or education, compared with only one in 11 male graduates, while almost one in two graduates had degrees in business and finance, sciences or engineering compared with only one in five female graduates.

Professional negotiator Clive Rich says that it may be difficult for small businesses to recruit graduates due to graduates’ high expectations of what they are able to negotiate for themselves.

Says Rich, ‘The best way for a small business to tackle this perceived deficit would be to focus on their own bargaining ‘aces’ when seeking to recruit graduates. For example, compared to a bigger company, smaller firms might be able to offer shares, freedom to act, independence, and the potential to achieve something new and innovative. For a graduate who has an ‘achievement’ need as a negotiator this might be highly motivating even if they could negotiate a higher salary somewhere else.’

How SMEs can bag the best candidates

Employees are the most important resource that your company has. Anthony Karibian, co-founder and CEO of XLN Telecom, explains how SMEs can bag the best candidates.

Small is beautiful

All employees value a vibrant working environment. The office culture within smaller companies is typically more energetic and exciting than the hierarchical corporates, with advantages such as greater flexibility and smaller teams making for an attractive working environment. By emphasising these points to potential candidates, you’ll be playing to your company’s strengths.

Growth opportunities

You should also stress that in a small business employees will have the chance to assume roles of responsibility. Individuals have the opportunity to really contribute to the future of the company. And the organisational structure of smaller companies allows employees more access to senior management who, instead of being tucked away in an elusive top floor office, will be working right beside them,

Group effort

If you’ve got good people working for you, involve them in the recruitment process. Implement employee referral programmes to encourage your top players to reach out to their friends and ex-colleagues. This way you’ll be widening your net to attract the highest calibre recruits.

First impressions count

Strong candidates have many career options and will undoubtedly be evaluating your company throughout the interview process, so make sure that you come across as professional and efficient throughout the interview process.

In order to achieve this, you will need to ask candidates the right questions. For example, if interviewing for a sales position, spend less time on the candidate’s academic performance and more on their ability to sell. Present them with mock situations so you can see their sales pitch in action. This way, you’ll be far likelier to choose the best person for the job and candidates will leave the interview with the impression that you and your business know what matters and what works.

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