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'No evidence' uni success correlates with later achievement

author:NZ Herald Holly Ryan

Businesses may be placing less importance on university degrees than in previous years but employees with tertiary education still earn more on average than those that don't, according to research by recruitment company absoluteIT.

In the last few months, consultancy firms EY and PwC in the UK announced they were ditching university scores as a key measure in their graduate recruitment programmes, in the hope of diversifying their talent pool.

EY's UK graduate recruitment team said it would be removing the degree classification from its entry criteria as there was "no evidence" that university success correlated with achievements later in life.

Henry Ford (Ford Motors), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Larry Page (Google) are some of the world's most famous university dropouts that went on to be extremely successful, however absoluteIT said tertiary education often made a difference when it came to pay.

"New Zealand tech professionals with 10 years experience and a degree earn upwards of 12 per cent more than those without a degree and the gap only increases as their careers progress," the company said.

"Education Counts [also] conducted a study on Tertiary Education outcomes in New Zealand, finding that employability was higher for those with formal learning qualifications than for those without."

Research showed 56 per cent of employers valued employees that had industry specific qualifications the most, with just 25 per cent seeing the most value in those with a university degree.

AbsoluteIT director Grant Burley said although qualifications were still important, employers should consider the moves that companies such as EY and PwC were making.

"If you're an employer, don't use qualification scores as a quick fire way to create a short-list," Burley said. "Take the research these large organisations have done and know that some of the most successful, innovative and motivated thinkers might not have thrived in a traditional learning situation, but they could in your work environment."

NZ Herald October 2015 2012