Degrees are still a necessary tool in the 21st century.
A degree is still a necessary tool in the 21st century. Source: Shutterstock.

Does a degree unlock every door to every job you could possibly want?

Of course not. But it’s undeniable that they will help open a few.

Writing for the New Zealand-based media startup Spin Off , Rebecca Stevenson, the publication’s business editor, recently asked: “What’s the point of getting a degree” if robots are going to replace us all anyway?

Despite being a little (we hope) far away from complete robot-takeover, degrees are more often than not the necessary stepping stone to building the career you really want.

They are the key to the metaphorical door, if you like, and whilst it’s up to you what you do the other side, you will have access to hundreds of other doors either way.

In reply to Stevenson, Auckland University of Technology vice-chancellor Derek McCormack argued that degrees are still just as valuable in the 21st century as ever.

He said he was often asked, “why universities don’t teach what employers and the labour market need, instead of putting out all these unemployable graduates with big debts”.

McCormack responded with the facts, pointing to recent data revealing how on average, individuals who hold a degree qualification get “significantly better incomes” than those without.

Additionally, he said, New Zealand’s Education Ministry has said that the median weekly income of graduates with a bachelor’s degree or above is 161 percent higher than those without any qualifications.

An education will always be important. Source: Shutterstock

“I believe universities and their role in our society are more important than ever.”

A degree isn’t the only path to success: there are apprenticeships, internships, new micro-credentials, on the job training, online courses, and badging.

But, degrees still remain as crucial as ever when hiring new employees.

Addressing the matter on recruitment agency Michael Page‘s website, Jonathan Abell, a recruiter and the firm’s managing director for engineering and manufacturing, says he likes applicants to have a degree.

“A university degree indicates an ability to problem solve, work through projects to completion and to set short, medium and long-term goals.”

Perhaps the robots will take over soon, and then what? Should we just give up learning? Should we stop trying to better ourselves and the world? Certainly not.

An education will always be important.

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