High Earnings From Diplomas

Education experts accused ministers of generating "the height of hype" after the claim was publicised in a new Government document promoting the controversial qualifications.

The pamphlet \’The Diploma: Bridging Learning To Life\’ claims that those with A levels, Advanced Diplomas or Advanced Apprenticeships would potentially earn £1.23 million.

While those with GCSE grades A-C or Apprenticeships or the less advanced Higher Diplomas would eventually earn £1.02 million.

Yes, I know, we normally regard the government as speaking with forked tongue when it comes to statistics but this particular one seems entirely believable.

Entirely uninteresting, but entirely believable.

Average wages these days for all full time employees are somewhere in the 20k to 23 k range (sorry, working from memory…but average wage for all jobs is some £10 an hour, so it\’s roughly right at least). Add in a bit of real wage increase, say, 2% a year (not far off the long term average) and in 47 years time said average will be 50k -58k (yes, this does already account for inflation).

So, over a 47 year working career (18-65) that\’ll be an average of £35k a year, or £1.6 million.

So what we\’re really being told is that those taking these diplomas will earn less than average wages over their lifetime in work.

If we include inflation (say, 2% to add to our 2% real wage increase) then in 47 years average wages will be 120k, giving us an average over the lifespan of 70k. Or £3.2 million in lifetime earnings which means that they really will be earning well below average wages.

Now I can\’t check their calculations as a quick Google doesn\’t show up that pamphlet. And I\’m sure that there\’s an error or two in my above scribbles.

But the simple fact that real wages tend to rise over time (to say nothing of inflation) mean that those lifetime earnings estimates are entirely believable, if not rather on the low side.

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