Almost 70% of A-level students are already considering doing a postgraduate degree to ‘get ahead’ in a competitive job market

Respondents to survey believe having the degree will have a 'significant difference' on their job chances and salary, while the upcoming government loan scheme is also cited as motivation

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Tuesday 23 February 2016 13:01

A large number of students who haven’t even taken their A-levels yet have told a survey they’re already considering postgraduate study as the competition to stand out in a tough graduate job market intensifies.

In research conducted by The Student Room and the University of Sheffield, just over 500 students were asked about their motivation in going ahead into postgraduate study.

Findings revealed 68 per cent of A-level students, and 77 per cent of undergraduates, are planning to do a postgrad.

Respondents said their main motivation was to enhance their career prospects in order to stay competitive in the current job market, while 62 per cent believed having the degree would make significant difference to their employment chances and salary.

Another 28 per cent of students said the upcoming government loan scheme was their main reason they would take up a postgraduate course. The Government announced in 2014 it would provide loans of up to £10,000 in all postgraduate subjects which will be made available from 1 August.

When asked if they would continue to study at the same university as their undergraduate degree, 63 per cent of A-level students, already forward-thinking, said they plan to attend a different university at postgraduate level because they want to do their course at “a more prestigious university than their undergrad degree.”

The head of UK/EU student recruitment and support at the University of Sheffield, Al Carlile, described how the survey’s findings have shown “a changing environment.” He added: “With new postgraduate student loans and universities, like Sheffield, launching new postgraduate scholarships, learning more about when and how we should be providing effective information to help inform future choices is incredibly important.”

Jack Wallington, The Student Room’s community director, said it was “an exciting time” for students considering postgraduate study, because it gives them the opportunity to further steer their study into the career they are interested in.

He said: “I’d recommend to students going straight into postgraduate study to also seek work experience related to their course and career in order to further enhance their employability and be work-ready.”

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