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Some degrees less 'profitable': study

TT/Rebecca Martin · 8 Jun 2011, 17:32

Published: 08 Jun 2011 17:32 GMT+02:00

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The survey, carried out by The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Sveriges akademikers centralorganisation –SACO), compared the accumulated life earnings of people with an academic degree in a number of professions to that of some who start working straight out of school.

“We have looked at salaries but also at the length of study for certain disciplines, student support money and unemployment within the different groups,” said Thomas Ljunglöf of Saco to Sveriges Television (SVT).

The survey showed that in twelve out of the 36 university programmes reviewed by SACO, it had been more financially profitable for students in certain disciplines to start working immediately after high school instead of investing time and money into an academic degree.

Among the affected are teachers, dental hygienists, librarians, and people with degrees in art and biology.

“Among the less profitable groups are to a large extent those that have degrees in subjects leading to female-dominated jobs, for example within the county administration. These generally have lower salaries,” Ljunglöf told SVT.

The survey showed that to make higher education worth the money, students should have chosen to study for a degree in civil engineering, economy, law or medicine

To make as much money as those who started working straight out of high school, those with less profitable degrees would have to stay in employment until 66-70 years of age.

Story continues below…

Despite these figures Ljunglöf thinks that when choosing their future profession, students ought to consider their own interests first and profitability second.

“If you put a lot of effort into something you are not interested in, you will probably not be very successful anyway, “ he told daily Dagens Nyheter.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:20 June 8, 2011 by Optimistic
Teachers in Sweden are paid a ridiculously low salary, particularly when they are working casually, This is just more evidence that they should be paid more.
19:35 June 8, 2011 by JLondon
Just get a job
20:28 June 8, 2011 by Rey Stockholm
Teachers are not even forced to have a degree which is strange
20:40 June 8, 2011 by swedejane
I'm shocked...absolutely shocked...that someone with an MBA or a law degree makes more money than a social worker or someone babysitting at a nursery. Shocking. Next week's study: water is thought to be wet.
21:53 June 8, 2011 by StockholmSam
You cannot be a 'real' teacher without three years of study at teacher college, which culminates in a bachelor's in education. I know of no school teacher working who does not have a college degree of some sort, even uncertified teachers. No school would hire a high-school graduate and put them in front of a class of students.
22:02 June 8, 2011 by spy


But the actual the point to the article was that it may be better to avert higher education in order to get a job straight away rather than spend 3 years getting a degree like Women's Studies . And not, as you suggested, that some degrees will lead to better salaries than others.
22:51 June 8, 2011 by jamesblish
Interesting, especially considering the fact that you can't be a librarian unless you've gone to university and gotten a librarian's exam. They've got things confused, I think. People who work in libraries are not by definition librarians. Only educated librarians are real librarians, the rest are library workers. You're not a doctor if you work in the hospital reception.
07:14 June 9, 2011 by farnoxo
Commonly called "the law of supply and demand". More academically challenging degrees have lower numbers of graduates, hence higher demand, hence higher salaries. This is not to dismiss the vitally important role that teachers play, but the stark truth is that the barriers to entry for becoming a teacher are signficantly lower than, say, becoming an engineer - and this is reflected in the pay gap.
09:03 June 9, 2011 by hilt_m
It doesn't say what the non-study jobs were?
10:57 June 9, 2011 by HYBRED
I think the non-study jobs are something like working for SACO.

There is a large amount of college students that go for something easy. then there is a overflow of ones looking in the same field for work. And with supply and demand the wages are low.
13:31 June 9, 2011 by Puffin
@ swedejane & farnoxo

I think you are missing the point -

The problem is not a relative problem of comparing low and high status professions such as doctors and teacher - but that those who study for membership of the lower status professions are often worse off compared to if they had not studied at all and started working direct after high school- so when student loan payments are taken into account

- teachers can earn less than teaching assistants/nursery nurses

- nurses earn less than nursing assistants/care-home workers

Salaries are very flat so there is no financial benefit from studying for one of the caring professions

@ Rey Stockholm

Of course teachers are required to have a degree - although there are a few places that hire unqualified teachers on short term contracts - from 2011 teaching will be an all graduate profession and teachers will be required to register

A teaching degree takes 3-6 years depending on level and subject ie

- 3-3½ years for nursery/eatly years

- 3-4 years for primary school

- 4-5 years for junior high school

- 5-6 years for upper high schools
14:09 June 9, 2011 by Decedo
LOL! It is pretty funny that this article actually went to print (or web). My engineering school used to have t-shirts: 'friends don't let friends take arts'.
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