New research from jobs board, Monster.co.uk shows that today’s 16-18 year-olds no longer see a university degree as the only route to a good career. Just 53% say they are considering going to university, whilst 22% plan on completing an apprenticeship. This is a significant drop since 2013 when 86% of young people said that a university education was important.[1]

With the average student graduating with over £50,000 of debt, 42% of school leavers are put off from going to university because of money.[2] And over a third (35%) believe that doing a degree doesn’t guarantee you a great job.

Monster.co.uk’s research shows that teenagers and their parents are broadly in agreement. When asked, 48% of parents and 60% of school leavers believe that getting a degree will get you a better job than completing an apprenticeship. Whilst 41% of parents think an apprenticeship is the best route for their child. 

Across the UK, parents and teenagers in the North East have the most positive outlook towards apprenticeships. 37% of teens in the region are considering an apprenticeship, compared to UK average of 22%. For parents in the North East, 69% believed apprenticeships stand you in better stead to get a good job than gaining a degree. With the North East currently home to the country’s highest unemployment rate, apprenticeships offer an immediate route into work, rather than going to university and graduating with huge debt and no job guarantee.[3]

Derek Jenkins, General Manager UK & Ireland, Monster.co.uk, monster.ie  comments: “With the cost of university tuition young people are moving away from the idea that degrees are essential to getting a good job. While it’s great to see more options available, making this huge decision at a young age is putting school leavers under a lot of pressure. At 16, 17 or 18 who honestly knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Instead of rushing into something, consider taking a year out to do internships and gain experience in different industries, or go travelling before making that decision.

“Whatever route you do decide to go down, if it doesn’t work out, don’t panic. You won’t be the first person to drop out of university or switch careers. Often it’s only through trial and error that you end up where you really want to be”

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For anyone concerned that they won’t be able to get a good job without a degree, there are still a number of high paying and interesting jobs that you don’t need a degree for. Monster have created the top 10 highest paying jobs that you don’t need a degree for:

The top 10 highest paying jobs which you don’t need a degree for

1. Firefighter - Firefighters can earn up to £40,000 per year, depending on their rank. General managers can earn around the £30,000 mark, but if you become a station manager you may collect upwards of 40k. To start, you’ll need to pass written exams and aptitude tests. You must be fit too – a number of physical exams are included as part of the selection process.

2. Police constable - As a police officer, there’s a variety of different roles you can do, and it’s not all about being out on the streets fighting crime directly. Depending on where you are, salaries start at around £20,000 with the potential for growth of £45,000 and upwards for sergeants.  Once you get into inspector territory as your career progresses, you can expect up to £50,000.

3. Entrepreneur - You don’t technically need any qualifications to become a business owner – just a huge amount of drive, determination and a brilliant idea. With 1 in 10 Brits dreaming of owning their own businesses, what you earn will depend on how successful you are.[4]

4. Train and tram drivers - Newly-qualified drivers can earn up to £25,000, while experienced ones take home up to £50,000. There are some great benefits too, like free and discounted rail travel.

5. Training managers - Training managers conduct training programmes for employers in a variety of different sectors. The average national salary is £37,000, with the potential for more, depending on the company, industry experience and location.

6. Project manager - Project managers can work in a variety of different fields and are responsible for making sure the project is a success. Responsibilities include planning, budgeting, overseeing and documenting. The average salary is around £40,000 depending on the area and location.

7. Air traffic controllers - There’s no degree needed here, but you will need a calm nerve, 5 GCSEs and three years’ training to obtain your air traffic control licence from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS). Starting salaries are £17,000 to £21,000, while experienced controllers can reach up to £50,000 depending on where you work and shift allowances.

8. Sales managers - Sales managers are responsible for leading their sales team to success. You’ll need excellent communication and management skills, as well as proficient IT knowledge. Basic salaries start at £18,000 and can reach a potential of £100,000 – and more thanks to commission.

9. Construction manager - Being a construction manager involves having good leadership and communication skills in order to coordinate and supervise projects. Although some of the work can be done from the office, this role also means working on-site – in all weather. On the plus side, Construction Managers can earn upwards of £50,000.

10. Hazardous-waste manager - It might not sound appealing at first, but managers in this field can expect to receive upwards of £36,000 to get rid of hazardous by-products produced by organisations such as hospitals and factories. The level of skill required to do this role makes it incredibly lucrative.

  1. Censuswide survey of 500 UK 16-18 year-olds
  2. Monster survey of 1100 UK parents
  3. Monster Jobs Confidence Index Q3 report

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