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The Link between education and income

DCL Blog – The Link between education and income

The relationship between education and income

Education is defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. In other words, it is the process of achieving knowledge, values, skills, beliefs, and moral habits.

Francis Bacon once said that “knowledge is power”. This is still true since higher education is a fundamental part of personal, national and global development. Not only does it shape independent minds, but it is also important for the continued growth of the economy. There are many reasons to seek higher education – some do it for job security, others do it to advance their knowledge but probably the most common reason is financial ambition. We all want to make a better life and for most this means we need to educate ourselves so we can qualify for positions that earn more.

The link between education and income

Generally, the more educated an individual is, the higher their income potential will be; education is often referred to as an investment in human capital.  

Matriculants in South Africa can expect to earn twice as much as someone with an incomplete high school career. Moreover, a tertiary certificate could result in a 63% increase in income while a bachelor’s degree would see a 330% jump. (BusinessTech, 2019)

To put this into perspective, data from Analytico covering a total sample size of 717,364 individuals in South Africa concluded that matriculants typically earn R4 977 per month, diploma holders earn R13 378 per month and bachelor’s degree holders earn upwards of R21 527 per month.

Why aren’t more people getting educated?

Even though education is considered a basic human right, only 13.8% of South African adults over the age of 20 attended school up until grade 7. Furthermore, 51% of South African youth between the ages of 18 and 24 claim they did not have the financial means to pay for their tuition. 18% of those aged between 18 and 24 who were not attending educational institutions stated that their poor academic performance prevented them from furthering their studies.

The benefits of higher education

A major benefit of furthering your studies is that a tertiary education equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with a wide range of challenges – both in their personal and professional lives. It broadens the mind and introduces a multitude of topics that the student may not have known about. The critical thinking skills developed through higher education allow one to ask better questions and solve more intricate problems.

Bottom line – tertiary education makes you more employable!

In this demanding and competitive job market, employers are only interested in the most qualified candidates. Also having a qualification gives an employer a benchmark of the level of work they can expect from you. Once qualified, you’ll be able to apply to jobs which specify a required level of tertiary education. Your chosen field of study and your grades can also be a deciding factor in your hiring.

Once you are employed, you are more likely to be considered for promotion into management and even executive levels, especially if you continue furthering your studies. The knowledge and skills you applied throughout your studies will help you to climb the ranks within your industry. These skills will also be applicable should you choose another profession at some point throughout your life.

In conclusion, higher education will benefit you personally and professionally. Not only will it open your mind to bigger and better things, but it will also help you to get ahead in your career. The truth is that in today’s highly competitive job market having a tertiary qualification is no longer an option but a necessity if you want to qualify for anything above the unskilled labour level.

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