Vince Cable: university degrees ‘superfluous to many jobs’

The Telegraph is reporting Vince Cable as saying a sharp rise in the number of jobs that require a degree as a minimum entry requirement has led to “qualification inflation”…

The Business Secretary warned that large numbers of students were being forced to gain university degrees even though they were “superfluous” to many careers such as nursing and accountancy…

Speaking today, Dr Cable insisted that young people should be accepted into professions with lower level qualifications such as A-levels and apprenticeships.

He said the issue had become “a major problem” which acted as a potential barrier to the jobs market.

The comments come amid a continuing surge in the number of school leavers going on to higher education courses…

But critics have warned that large numbers of graduates are being left unemployed or in low-skilled jobs after finishing university with qualifications that fail to meet the needs of the modern economy.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Sutton Trust charity in central London, Dr Cable appeared to criticise the fact that school leavers now need a degree to get into certain professions.

In recent years, nursing has become a graduate-level job for the first time, leading to a boom in nursing degrees. Other careers such as policing do not require a degree but fast-track graduates into senior ranks.

But Dr Cable said: “The idea that in order to be a police officer or a nurse you have to have a degree, I mean, that is just qualification inflation.

“There may be some qualitative improvement associated with it, but arguably not.

“I think in a way we have passed that barrier; it’s very difficult to ‘de-graduate’ a lot of the big professions of that kind.”

…He said that for a “whole lot of fairly standard professions – not elite professions – a degree is a basic qualification”.

“We are conscious of some areas like accountancy and elsewhere where degree qualifications appear to be superfluous,” he said.

He said the Government was “trying to persuade the professional associations to relax their qualifications” to enable school leavers to access certain careers without taking a degree…

More at:  Vince Cable: university degrees ‘superfluous to many jobs’

What do you make of these comments from Dr Cable? Would it make sense to ‘de-graduate’ some professions or is it good that more and more people now have a university degree? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Employment and Higher Education.


  1. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove We should divert some student loan money to support young people that want to learn a craft – same repayment rules

  2. Jtgbluez

    SchoolsImprove Education offers far more than narrow work related skills training and should continue in many forms throughout life.

  3. Jtgbluez

    CareersDefender SchoolsImprove Problems begin well before careers development support. Tools YP need are lost despite brilliant teachers.

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