Does the postgraduate premium really exist?

I’ve just published a new piece on the Times Higher website looking at the postgraduate premium. Essentially I’m arguing that there isn’t much evidence to suggest that doing a postgraduate degree straight after you graduate offers you a very clear salary benefit. Some of the evidence that we have at the Institute of Student Employers suggests the opposite. I’d be interested to hear more about what others think.

When more and more people are going into higher education, it is easy for undergraduates to feel that having a degree doesn’t make them very special.

Universities have enthusiastically jumped on this anxiety. Postgraduate students now make up a quarter of the UK’s higher education population and their numbers are steadily growing.

All of this is good news for universities. Postgraduate degrees have long been viewed as cash cows, regarding whose pricing universities have far greater freedom and less scrutiny than with undergraduate degrees. It is in institutions’ interests to promote the idea that postgraduate degrees enhance employability. However, the Institute of Student Employers’ (ISE) annual development survey tells a different story.

Read on…


  1. A careers advisor at one of the top UK universities recently told me that their Careers Service’s experience shows it’s not always a good career investment. Which is important, given the extra debt involved.

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