In October to December 2010, the bottom 20 per cent of employees with a minimum of a degree earned less than the average pay for those educated to A-level, according to new analysis of Labour Force Survey data released today by Office for National Statistics.
The bottom 15 per cent of employees with a degree also earned less than the average for those educated to around the GCSE or equivalent level.
The data shows, on average, employees with a minimum of a degree earned 85 per cent more than those educated to around the GCSE level, down from 95 per cent in 1993. Employees with a higher education (but not degree) qualification earned around 45 per cent more, down from 54 per cent in 1993, and those educated to around the A-level or equivalent qualification earned around 15 per cent more, down from 18 per cent in 1993.
Over the same period, the percentage of people in the UK with a degree has more than doubled from 12 per cent in 1993 to 25 per cent in 2010. Also, the percentage of workers with a degree in the highest skilled jobs in the country has fallen. In 1993, 68 per cent of workers with a degree were employed in a job in the highest skill group, falling to 57 per cent in 2010. The highest skilled jobs include those in managerial positions, engineers and accountants.
Around one in three jobs within the UK are for those known as lower-middle skill, typically jobs such as retail, secretarial roles or machine operatives. For people educated to around the GCSE or equivalent level it is these types of jobs that most of them were working in, or almost one in every two people with this type of qualification in 2010.
There has been a fall in the percentage of people with no formal educational qualification, from 25 per cent in 1993 to 11 per cent in 2010. This was mainly driven by people aged 50-64 in 1993 who, because of the education system at the time, were less likely to have stayed on in school to obtain a formal qualification. By 2010 these people were over the age of 64 and therefore likely to have retired from work.