Jiva Technology

Is a university education worth the time, effort and cost?

Its almost a heresy to question the value of a university education. It is only in recent years that we’ve measured the value of our time at university in terms of future earning power and only in very recent years, with the advent of tuition fees, that a sort of educational net present value calculation has been applied to check the ‘earning power’ provided by university.

In some ways, its a shame that we are even having this conversation. Picking up the analytical and reasoning skills that a good quality university course can provide are in many ways an indispensable life skill. Todays school leavers and graduates face a particularly uncertain future even if we ignore the massive problem of environmental change. A massive technological shift is once again underway that will most likely hollow out graduate jobs in the way that manufacturing jobs came under pressure from automation. Couple that with what seems to be the beginnings of a retreat from globalisation and you seemingly have recipe for a slower graduate jobs market. we are already seeing this to a certain extent, as graduates accept ‘non-graduate’ jobs.

Of course those graduate analytical skills will be useful in an uncertain world for those willing to put them to good use. Uncertainty creates opportunity and most likely, those willing to take a more thoughtful approach and not just follow the conveyor belt into the right sort of job may find themselves at an advantage. Perhaps the best advice to graduates will be not to ‘get your head down’ and work hard, but to ‘keep your head up’ and look for opportunity in unusual places. A world of change creates winners and losers. And not always in the places you expect.


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