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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 00:04 GMT
Graduates 'regret degree choice'
Students on campus
Women graduates earn less, on average, than their male peers
A third of graduates believe they studied the wrong course at university, a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests.

Most of these said, with hindsight, they would have taken a more scientific or technical course, a business-based or a professional qualification.

The poll found that men who graduated in 2005 started on salaries which were, on average, 14% higher than women.

The CIPD survey questioned 876 former students who graduated in 2000 or 2005.

The findings show that with reflection many graduates would study a subject that relates directly to business
Victoria Winkler, training adviser

Average starting salaries for those who graduated in 2005 (19,451) were just 8% higher than for those who graduated in 2000 (18,016).

The survey found that within 12 months of graduating, 63% are paying into a pension.

But evidence of a gender gap emerged again, with only 57% of women who graduated in 2005 saving for a pension compared to 70% of men.

The poll found two-thirds of those surveyed felt their university could have offered better career advice.

Valuing university

The overwhelming majority of respondents were positive about their time as a student - 90% said they would go to university if they had their time again.

And 84% said their time at university had been helpful in gaining independence and life skills. Three-quarters said it had helped them in terms of communication skills, presentation skills, team-work and confidence.

Victoria Winkler, CIPD training adviser, said: "A combination of fierce competition for graduate jobs and graduates taking longer to find work appears to be having an impact on their views about their choice of degree.

"The findings show that with reflection many graduates would study a subject that relates directly to business or that will better equip them with skills that are transferable into the workplace."

The government needed to work alongside employers to find out what skills were needed in the workplace, she added.

"This information then needs to be fed into schools and colleges so that school leavers have the information needed to make a more informed decision about the course they choose to study and their future career."

Are you a graduate? Do you feel you studied the wrong course at university?

Your comments:

The average graduate starting salary is a myth. Everyone I knew, including myself, could only get temping work on about 6 an hour doing basic boring, no skills or intelligence required admin work. I graduated in 2002. I've worked really hard, having to do all the rubbish that no-one else wants to do, working my way up and still looking for that elusive graduate job where I can actually use my intelligence and skills.
Louise Atkinson, Manchester, England

I think I chose the wrong subject at university, however there was no help or support available to me, so I ended up just leaving uni altogether!
Fiona, Edinburgh

I regret my degree choice and I undertook a science subject. Given my time again, I would either undertake a course that lead directly to a career, or train to be a plumber or electrician - it's impossible to buy a house on a graduate's salary.
M Barns, Norfolk

I studied Chemistry at university and now am a HR manager. In hindsight, I too would have studied something more business orientated but the narrow specialisation of A-levels, means that key decisions about subjects are made earlier than they should without proper career advice.
Michael Pichamuthu, London, England

I spent three years studying for a degree in Leisure Marketing. After a few months I couldn't wait to get out of the Leisure Industry. It is poorly paid, unsociable hours and limited career prospects. I am now working in a call centre.
Martin Molloy, Oldham, UK

I studied Politics at Aberdeen University in the late 1990's. I recently read a study which suggested that men who study for a Politics degree earn no more over their working lives than men who do not go to university. This is bourne out by my own circumstances where I have found the degree of little practical use in the job market
Alistair Hogg, Edinburgh, Scotland

I graduated from one of the top universities in the country doing a highly rated degree and I can say with full confidence that it was a waste of 6,750 and three years of my life.
Mo, London

I thoroughly enjoyed my Ecology degree at University, and chose it carefully based on what career I wanted. However on graduating I found it impossible to get a job in the relevant field.
Nikki, Brighton, E. Sussex

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