It pays to teach kids how much they'll earn

It might seem unfair to monetise aspirations, but failing to provide students with guidance on where they'll likely end up financially is a far greater disservice

Share
Related Topics

Are you happy in your current career? In hindsight, would you have chosen the same path if you were given more foresight at school? Figures published last week by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found that 87 per cent of graduates from the 2009 university cohort are in work. This is the bunch that graduated at the height of the recession – and apparently 8 out of 10 are satisfied with their careers and believe they got value for money from their degrees. But employed is not necessarily being employed in the desired field, and when a polite phone-operator calls you at midday to ask whether you are satisfied with how things are going since leaving university – it is easier to pacify them and be polite yourself. Things are fine, thanks.

When I was at school students received little to no guidance on average salaries attached to prospective career paths. While it might seem unfair to monetise kids’ aspirations, or to force them to stay on in education till they are 18, as the Government have just announced, failing to provide students with guidance on where they are likely to end up financially because of their decisions in early life is a far greater disservice. School kids deserve to be taught about the financial implications of all prospective career paths at secondary school.

It is a nice idea that everyone follows their dreams – and good luck to anyone who does, and reaps rewards in doing so. But students’ desired quality of life could be dramatically affected as a result of receiving no information about the realities based on statistics. Not every student has a latent Alan Sugar inside. A free society should welcome informed decision-making - and it could improve social mobility.

A mere one in nine media studies graduates who are employed hold a media related job six months after finishing university; they are most likely to find themselves working in sales and retail. A medicine graduate, however, is 99.4 per cent likely to be working as a health professional in the same six-month period. It must be disappointing to find yourself at a checkout with thirty thousand pounds of debt weighing on you, when you’re grinding it out on minimum wage. Three years after graduating medicine and dentistry students have an average income of £30,000, while those who studied fine art or design average £15,000.

There exists a social mobility website called Bestcourse4me.com – it’s a charity that provides students with detailed information through graphs and statistics for each university subject, and the reality of the outcomes - the same stuff schools nationwide should teach as a compulsory matter. The data is collated from HESA and the Labour Force Survey, presenting figures of salaries per subject based over a lifetime, unemployment rates, and so forth.

Christine Buccella, director of the website, says: “I think knowing what kind of earnings you’re going to have depending on what you are thinking of doing is a really important thing to focus kids’ minds on the future. Middle class kids at the end of the day know they’re going to be fine, they’re not considering this kind of information, whereas kids from poorer backgrounds will take that into consideration. You need to think about what you enjoy doing, what sort of lifestyle you want to live – and think about some realistic way to get there.”It is of course possible the students wouldn’t push any harder at all, but at least they would know the realities and could give more thorough consideration to their performance and decisions.

In September 2014 the Government also plans to put personal finance on the national curriculum in secondary schools. This plan isn’t enough. If we are to teach students how to best manage money, or force them to stay on in English and Maths, we should go further and teach them about prospective salaries too. It is one flaw in our education system that wouldn’t be hard to iron out.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Not only is Liz Kendall a shy Tory, but her words are also likely to appeal to racists

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff
Andy Coulson  

Andy Coulson: With former News of the World editor cleared of perjury charges, what will he do next?

James Cusick James Cusick
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)