The British Academy responds to IFS report on graduate earnings

28 Nov 2018

The British Academy has responded to the Institue for Fiscal Studies' report on the impact of undergraduate degrees on early-career earnings. 

The report estimates how much graduates can expect to earn after attending university, compared with those who do not go to university. It uses data, generated in collaboration with the Department for Education, that links school, university and tax records for everyone who took their GCSEs in England from 2002 to 2007.

In response to the report, Molly Morgan Jones, Director of Policy & Engagement at the British Academy, said:

The latest report by the IFS provides a balanced analysis of LEO data and reveals the limitations of earnings data in assessing the value of higher education. The report reinforces findings from previous analysis that creative arts graduates earn less at the beginning of their careers. But, as the IFS makes clear, subject is not the best predictor of graduate earnings – indeed there are other key factors at play, including gender, upbringing, region and prior attainment. In any case, we agree with the Universities Minister that earnings are not everything and salaries alone cannot accurately reflect the true value of a particular course.

Moving forward, if we are to tackle the pressing challenges of our age, from climate change to Brexit, we will need graduates with skills and experience in a range of disciplines. This must begin at school with a broad and balanced curriculum, especially at A-level, where subject choice has become far too narrow.

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