A respected education expert has warned of a looming graduate “revolution” in the next few years, as hundreds of thousands of graduates discover that their degree is not worth what they paid for it. His comments come as new figures show that 15% of graduates are earning less than people who left school with only GCSEs.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Martin Stephen, former headmaster of top independent day school St Paul’s Boys wrote:

“This is the year the old order died as far as university entry is concerned – and it’s far from clear that the new order will be better. There is the potential for a massive shock.

“Students will be paying massively for their degrees and building up huge long-term debts. Those who pay more demand more, and this consumer pressure will run head-on into the fact that universities are strapped for cash and often unable to increase students’ ‘contact time’ with teachers. Though they have the will, they simply don’t have the money.

“The situation has all the ingredients necessary for a revolution.”

Stephen also raised concerns about the mis-match between the degrees that are popular with students – and those that are valued by employers, saying:

“Add to this the fact that there are too many universities offering degrees in subjects that students like but employers reject, and there is a serious risk that the graduates of the future will end up being very angry young men and women indeed.”

Meanwhile, the news that many graduates are earning less than those with only GCSEs or A-levels is unlikely to surprise readers of Graduate Fog. For over a year, you’ve been telling me that you’re not earning anywhere near the supposed “average” graduate salary of around £26,000. Too many salary surveys only question the top-earning graduates, and do not reflect the reality for the majority of you. Unpaid internships are dragging down wages too.

Now, finally, we have some numbers to prove what you lot have been saying for months. For what it’s worth, I think it’s good news that the truth is emerging at last. These statistics will be hard for politicians to ignore – making it more likely that more will be done to help graduates into the jobs you deserve.

*Is trouble brewing?
‘Revolution’ is a strong word – was Stephen being melodramatic? Or can you imagine some kind of graduate uprising, in the not-too-distant future? What will it take for graduates to get angry enough to revolt?

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