New research by NerdWallet, one of the UK’s leading financial comparison sites, has found that almost half of former university students would advise against pursuing a degree. Instead, for those with a great idea, they suggest launching their own business or at the very least, getting out into the workplace and gaining practical experience.
When asked whether a young person with a great business idea should go to university first, 46% of graduates said they should take the plunge and take out a business loan to start their own company rather than pursue a degree.
Almost half (45%) of the graduates surveyed also said that they thought that a degree was “overvalued” and that more worth should be attached to other types of higher education and training. In fact, 40% of graduates said that relevant experience was more valuable in a job application versus 25% who said that a degree would put you ahead.
“It appears that the perception of university and its value is changing. There is such a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the UK, with many success stories and increasing support for those starting out, that it seems some people are questioning whether a degree will help if their ultimate goal is setting up a business,” says Denise Ko Genovese, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.
A total of 80 new businesses opened every hour in the first half of 2021, up 32% from the first half of 2019, according to research from small business lender iwoca, showing that there is a robust start-up culture in the UK.
Perhaps this is in part due to the increasing financial support available to first-time entrepreneurs – from business loans and start-up grants to advice and mentoring – that 55% of the graduates surveyed said that they would feel comfortable taking out a business loan to start their own business.
“Armed with more knowledge and confidence, we are hopefully all becoming more financially savvy and perhaps bolder in using the financial products available to us to help us reach our business and career goals,” concludes Ko Genovese.