Over half of UK workers do not use their degree in their working career


The findings come from a new survey of over 1,300 UK workers and also reveals that 41.5 per cent of employees would change their degree if they could, while nearly half of workers said that they do not think degrees are worth the time and money spent. The research also explored trends in key industries, comparing which were most and least likely to use degrees:

Degree usage

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “It’s a massive shame that so many workers have a degree education that has never been realised. Hopefully this news will encourage future students to think carefully about the degree they want to study and how this will help their future careers. Many industries have a mandatory degree requirement and often demand niche qualifications that can only be obtained during university, making the need and value for a degree very clear. However, there are also many sectors that can be entered with alternative qualifications and experiences and it’s important that students fully research their options to ensure they are not paying for an education that won’t be used.”

In addition, when exploring the reasons behind choosing a degree education, only one in five advised that they attended university to secure a good job, whilst a staggering 41.2 per cent admitted that they ‘took a degree for the sake of it’. A further 25.8 per cent said that they went to university to gain life experience, with 4.9 per cent stating that the main motive was to meet new people.

Biggins continues: “There’s no denying that university offers students a good life experience, but it’s important to focus on the fundamental reason for obtaining a degree and to remember that ultimately it’s to further career opportunities. If gaining life experience is your key reason for attending university, or you’re just attending because you’re not sure what else to do, then there are much cheaper alternatives that can be explored. In this day and age, spending three to four years in university-limbo could be a costly mistake.”

Furthermore, 71.9 per cent of workers that had taken a degree felt that they would have been more beneficial if they had included more business and office-based skills, reiterating that these modules would be more helpful for their current career.

Biggins concludes: “Offering practical education around business and essential workplace skills at university would help to bridge the gap between education and the business world, as well as enabling candidates to recognise the value of their degree in their career. Further education is a huge investment these days and it’s vital that we get it right; many universities already recognise this and offer basic business learning to their students, but there’s still a long way to go.

“Alongside this, while a degree qualification can still be a major deciding factor in who gets the job, it’s worth remembering that the number of people who have obtained degrees has increased drastically, leading many employers to focus more on experience over education.”