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.
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.