Engineers could pay £4,000 more on their degrees than their peers, says report
Engineering graduates could find themselves paying back £4,000 more than other graduates unless the civils pay gap gets smaller, ICE vice president Barry Clarke said last week.
Clarke cited research which suggested lower salaries given to civils graduates in comparison with other professions meant they could end up spending £4,000 more and taking 11 years longer to pay off the cost of a Master’s degree.
16 years to pay off
A lawyer graduating after a four-year Masters would take 16 years to pay off the debt, paying £50,000, while the lower salary of a civils graduate means they can expect to spend 27 years and £4,000 more in interest to meet the costs of the equivalent qualification, the report said.
Clarke said the lack of perceived value from a civils degree was “a major concern for industry,” and that “it is likely to deter some potential students from taking up degree programmes.”
Clarke was speaking at a debate on how industry can attract students from all backgrounds against the backdrop of increasing university fees.
The ICE hosted the event in Birmingham.
Step too far
While associate director at the Higher Education Funding Council for England Chris Milward said he was confident engineering courses would be popular despite the reforms, Amey associate director David Johns said that the proposed rise to £9,000-a-year tuition fees “might just be a step too far”.
He said that Amey was “of the view that we must not simply react to economic blips, otherwise we create problems later.”
He stressed that investing in education was the right thing to do to keep student numbers up and to encourage diversity.
“We have increased our recruitment […] learning and development budgets - not reduced them.”
Clarke said the ICE must “encourage and support young people wishing to enter the profession [by] highlighting the pathways and career opportunities.”
National Union of Students executive member Joe Oliver reiterated the importance of ensuring a broad mix of students entering into the discipline, and said “everybody realises the importance that engineers have within society and our everyday lives. It is vital that we continue to have well qualified engineers”.