Study Says Uni Graduates With A 2:2 Get 'Penalty' Lower Wages
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Study Says Uni Graduates With A 2:2 Get 'Penalty' Lower Wages

Rachael Grealish April 21, 2022

A recent study has said university graduates who get higher grades will get ‘substantially’ higher salaries, whereas there’s a ‘penalty’ for a 2:2 and below.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank found graduates net ‘substantially higher earnings’ in their careers if they earn a 2:1 or a first, compared to a 2:2.

Wage Comparison

The think-tank was commissioned by the Department for Education to carry out an analysis of the financial benefit associated with different degree classifications.

The think-tank used data for students who went to school in England and found the differences between those with different degree classes are ‘large’ just five years after graduation.

The research found after just five years men who obtain a first-class degree earn £4,100 more than men with a 2:1, while women with firsts earn £2,200 more than women with 2:1s – so not only does the research highlight the differences in grades, but the wage gap once again between men and women.

The research said: ‘Higher degrees are associated with substantially higher earnings.’

Penalties for lower grades

In the research it said those who got a first-class degree got a ‘premium’ of 4% for women and 7% for men, for gaining that degree over a 2:1.

On the flipside it said there was ‘penalty’ for getting a 2:2 with 7% lower earnings for women and 11% for men. Getting a third equated to even lower earnings with 15% lower for women, compared with a 2:1, and 18% lower earnings for men.

Ben Waltmann, senior research economist at the IFS and a co-author of the report, told the inews: ‘The findings imply that degree classification may matter as much as university attended for later life earnings.

‘Other things equal, going to a more selective university is good for future earnings, and the fact that few students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend the most selective universities is a barrier to social mobility.’

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Rachael is the Senior Content Editor at Freshered. She is NCTJ qualified with an MA in journalism. Rachael has almost ten years experience as a journalist in regional, national and international press and is passionate about creating engaging content.