Investing time and money into a college degree may seem daunting, but recent data out of England shows that those who attend university can go onto secure more lucrative salaries, than those who don't.
In 2018, working-age graduates in England were earning a median salary of £34,000 ($44,000), while those who didn't pursue further education saw a median wage of £24,000 a year, according to figures released by the U.K.'s Department for Education on Thursday.
This pay difference narrows when looking at the younger population, aged 21 to 30, with graduates receiving an average of £4,500 more than non-graduates, as people enter the job market.
For those who choose to extend their education by pursuing a postgraduate degree, this can push an individual's annual salary even higher, with data showing that the average annual salary for those aged 16-64 reached £40,000 in 2018 — an increase of £6,000.
On the back of the announcement, the Minister of State for Universities Chris Skidmore embraced the overarching figures, which indicated that the "graduate premium" rewards those who pursue further education.
While the latest official data indicates that pursuing a degree is a valuable investment, it appears that pay disparities remain a big issue, as a working person's earnings differ when considering their gender, ethnicity and where they work in England. This comes on top of graduates having to deal with several challenges, including a competitive labor market and any student debt that they may have to pay off.
Looking at figures covering the working population, aged 16-64, the average pay after a degree may come in at £34,000, but it rises to £38,500 for men, while a female graduate is set to receive £29,000.
At postgraduate level, the average annual salary comes in at £43,000 for men, and £37,000 for women, which suggests that women with postgraduate degrees, such as a Master's or doctorate, earn less than a male student whose highest qualification is at bachelor's level.
Looking at ethnicity, white graduates are set to earn £35,000 on average, while the median salary for black and Asian graduates is lower, coming in at £25,500 and £33,500 respectively.
Where a person works also can impact their annual earnings, with London offering the highest average in the country at £39,000, while the north east of England offers an average of £28,500.
Having examined the figures, the universities minister stated that much more needed to be done when it comes to clamping down on pay disparities, adding that the government had introduced a number of measures to narrow these gaps.
"This government is clear that all graduates, no matter their gender, race or background, should be benefitting from our world-class universities and there is clearly much further to go to improve the race and gender pay gap," Skidmore said in a statement.
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