Beat Unemployment with a Postgraduate Degree
Share this on

Beat Unemployment with a Postgraduate Degree

As the global employment market becomes more competitive, a growing number of people are investing their time and resources into postgraduate education.

In a global survey conducted by QS in 2012-13, out of more than 4,000 students preparing to apply for postgraduate degrees, 75 percent of applicants said they believe a postgraduate degree would boost their employment prospects.

Professor Borgonovi, director of SDA Bocconi, the globally renowned Italian business school, agrees. He told The Guardian: “A specialist Master degree facilitates entry into the job market, adding value to undergraduate degrees that offer limited job opportunities.

“Specialised Master courses enable students to follow the dynamics of a changing job market more closely and rapidly by responding to the emergence of new professional fields and evolving competencies within traditional professions.”

In June 2013, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) published UK-based figures that showed 74 percent of those to have completed a Masters in the academic year 2011-2012 found employment within six months of graduating: 56 percent at home, 13 percent overseas, and 5 percent combining work with study. This is in comparison to 72 percent of first-degree students, where the breakdown in the same order is 63 percent, 3 percent and 6 percent.

In 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published a chart of Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment. The chart demonstrated an average unemployment rate of 3.5 percent for Masters degree holders, compared to unemployment rates of 4.5 percent for Bachelor degree holders, and 6.2 percent for those with an Associate degree. The chart also shows the median weekly earnings for those with a Masters degree to be significantly higher– US$1,300, compared to Bachelor and Associate degree holders’ earnings of $1,066 and $785.

So, not only do postgraduates stand a much better chance of finding employment, they will also be paid significantly more when they do. The testimonies of students and academics on the ground speak for themselves.

Dr Cain Evans, subject leader of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birmingham City University insists that, when it comes to job hunting, a greater awareness of the sector allows you to rise above the competition. He is a firm believer that possessing a Masters gives postgraduate students a definite ‘edge’ with regards to their career prospects.

He adds, “These days there is so much competition at first degree level – especially within IT – that businesses need students with a higher level of skills. For instance, computational modelling (algorithms), in-depth knowledge of open platforms, .Net, mobile and so forth.

“The Masters qualification provides employers with an applicant that has a deeper knowledge of their field, is better qualified, on their way toward chartered status (CITP, CEng), and with improved career prospects, including technical management responsibilities.”

No matter your programme of study, a graduate degree is considered an asset by employers and governments across the world and also opens up leadership positions within the knowledge economy. But for any student wishing to take on the gauntlet of postgraduate education, it is incredibly important to do your research and decipher exactly the right course for you.

Alex Reid, graduate of the Victoria University of Wellington, is interested in tropical ecosystems and found Victoria University to be the best place to study a Masters on Coral Reef research, a subject which he claims to ‘thrive’ on.

The 23-year-old science graduate moved from Dunedin, New Zealand, to Wellington to pursue his interest in ecosystems. He says: “My postgraduate degree will help me stand out when I’m applying for work. Between my courses and experience working on collaborative research projects with Victoria lecturers and PhD students, it will be clear I have a lot to offer.”


Students at University of Greenwich. Pic: University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich is another established university that offers a comprehensive list of postgraduate study programmes. The university claims that these programmes can open windows of opportunity anywhere in the world.

Mohammed Haque, a previous student of the University, is one graduate who can attest to this. He says: “I’m from Bangladesh. There I completed my BSc in Computer Science & Engineering from BRAC University. I registered at Greenwich University for the MSc in Mobile Computing & Communications.

“The mobile telecoms industry needs skilled people and this course has been designed to meet market demand. I am confident that it will help me to get into this job market.”

Achieving a Masters or equivalent postgraduate qualification will provide you with comprehensive knowledge of your specialisation that will be universally valued. Building on your Bachelors degree will demonstrate your skill, in-depth understanding and commitment to your subject area, equipping you with attributes that employers across the world find increasingly desirable, and boosting your employability so they simply won’t be able to resist.

Read on to learn more about the international universities offering some of the best postgraduate courses…


Victoria University of Wellington is New Zealand’s Number 1 University for research quality. Quality extends across all of its subject areas: postgraduate students who come to study at Victoria can be confident they will work with scholars of international standing. There are more than 40 specialist research centres at Victoria, and each one deals with issues of international significance. Through their research activities and extensive international connections, Victoria’s researchers are part of a world-wide community of scholars and innovators who are shaping the future. Postgraduate students are full partners in that scholarly community. Read the full profile…


The University of Greenwich is home to a thriving community of over 23,000 students. It boasts an international population of students from over 140 countries, all choosing Greenwich for its academic excellence and convenient South East London location. Due to its close proximity to central London, student life at the University of Greenwich is very much live and kicking. The university’s three campuses are perfectly situated and offer a wide variety of social facilities. From theatres to beaches, students of Greenwich are spoiled for choice and have the time of their lives through their studies. Read the full profile…


Curtin University is Western Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse university with Australia’s third largest international student population. With campuses in Malaysia and Singapore as well as face-to-face teaching in a number of countries, Curtin has a strong commitment to international engagement. Curtin is ranked in the top two percent of universities worldwide in the highly regarded Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Curtin is now placed in the 201-300 band, up from 301-400 in 2014 and 401-500 in 2013, placing the University at 271 and number 11 in Australia.


The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier, comprehensive institution, recognised as national leader in experiential education. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrols approximately 6,500 students, including nearly 1,600 graduate students and more than 4,800 undergraduates. Through its five different colleges, UNH offers 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 400 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.


The University of St Mark & St John has been ranked as the best University in the UK for social mobility and is rated amongst the Top 10 Universities for overall student satisfaction. The University first opened in 1838 as England’s first teacher training college, and it continues to provide high-quality teacher education, alongside an expanding portfolio of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, many of which are run in partnership with professions and lead to high levels of graduate employment: Education, Social Sciences, Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, and Sociology, to name just a few.

First image via Shutterstock.