Experts have suggested that the current economic climate could prove beneficial to universities as more people choose to undertake Master’s degrees. Evidence from previous recessions suggests that institutions tend to benefit from financial crises and downturns in employment, as people opt to return to education.
Jonathan Slack, Chief Executive of the Association of Business Schools, has suggested these situations present the ideal opportunity for individuals to improve themselves and their CVs whilst removing themselves from the increased competition in the job market during these periods. There is particular demand for business courses, already the most popular subject at degree level, taken in some form by one in seven students.
Janette Rutterford, Professor of Financial Management at the Open University Business School, confirms this tendency for people to improve their chances for future employment: “You typically see increases in the numbers doing Masters of Business Administration, Law and Accounting courses as people look for courses that offer tangible qualifications with professional credibility.”
These assertions have been used by many to counter claims that higher education is no longer a worthwhile investment. Prof Rick Trainor, President of Vice-Chancellor’s group Universities UK, has stated: “We know that as the UK economy continues to shift towards knowledge-based activities it is likely that a greater proportion of the workforce will need higher-level skills. He also projects that individuals are likely to need to “re-skill” at several points in their career to maintain their position in the workforce.