In the UK, those with a degree are more likely to get a job, earn more and be in a higher level of employment (ONS Graduate in the UK labour market: 2017).
For graduates with a postgraduate qualification, the prospects are even better. You are even more likely than those with an undergraduate degree to be employed, more likely to earn more, and more likely to be in a higher level of employment. Research by the Sutton Trust has found that a master’s graduate in the UK will earn an average of £5,500 more per year – or £200,000 over a working life – than someone with only an undergraduate degree.
However, the benefits of master’s study are more directly linked to the individual. In other words, if you need to study a master’s degree to get to your next goal (if a master’s is required for your chosen degree, or you want to do a PhD where a master’s is part of the entry requirements), then there is a clear reason for you to do a master’s.
Sometimes, as you progress in your career, you may find that further study becomes necessary, or is a way of differentiating yourself.
However, if you want to apply for a job that only requires an undergraduate degree, don’t assume that having a master’s will automatically make you more competitive. It may be that further work experience would be more beneficial.
If you’re not sure, it’s best not to rush into the decision. Talk to a lecturer, your academic adviser, or the careers service to help you decide whether a master’s is needed for your next step.