The Office for national Statistics has issued data that shows that, on an earnings scale, the lowest paid 20% of degree holders earned less than the average wage for the A-level holder.

Further, the bottom 15% earned less than the average wage for those holding just GCSEs.

Overall the figures show a decline in the worth of holding a degree, but that should be no surprise as more people hold them now than even just a decade ago.

Since 1993, the average earnings for those with degrees have dropped from 95% more than GCSE holders to 85% more.

Those with a higher educational qualification but not a degree earned 45% more than the GCSE level, which is down from 54% in 1993. And those with A-levels earn 15% more than those with GCSEs down from 18% in 1993.

Since 1993 the number of people with a degree has doubled from 12% to 25% and the number of those with no formal educational qualification has more than halved from 25% to 11%. The ONS says that this is due to many of those unqualified people being in the age bracket that has now retired.

But strangely, the percentage of degree holders in the highest skilled jobs (including managerial, engineering and accountancy) has fallen from 68% in 1993 to 57% in 2010. You would think that with more degree holders the top jobs would be almost inaccessible to the lower qualified.

So there are more people with degrees in the workplace but it seems that it is not the passport to the top that having attended university was deemed to be.

Maybe now that there are more and more graduates to choose from it is becoming obvious that, just because some people are academically clever and have closeted themselves in a seat of learning for three years, it does not automatically follow that they are good at everything. And the job market is possibly now discovering that.

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