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What’s a university degree worth?

Over half of SME owners across the Republic and Northern Ireland believe that a university degree is becoming increasingly devalued: many argue there is no substitute for practical experience, according to a recent poll.  Almost a third believe that university degrees are now so commonplace that they have lost some of their importance. The results come from Close Brothers’ quarterly survey which canvasses the opinion of business owners and managers from a range of sectors across the UK and Ireland; the Close Brothers Business Barometer.
Harry Parkinson, Managing Director of Close Brothers Commercial Finance, said: “It won't come as a surprise that so many Irish employers think that a university education is becoming less valuable. “The Higher Education Authority recorded over 20,000 entrants to universities in Ireland last year and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) recorded the highest level of entrants to universities in Northern Ireland during the same period (14,600).  Despite this, the value of third level education is becoming a subject for debate.
“Our statistics seem to suggest that many employers are beginning to give greater recognition to practical, hands on experience, arguably ahead of academic achievement.” The survey found that a third of bosses in Ireland say they do not consider a degree to be important at all when it comes to hiring new staff members. “Of course, it depends on your chosen career, but the skills potential employers are looking for can be developed in many ways,” added Mr Parkinson.

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