“Menial work being beneth them?” (them a.k.a. graduates)

The spelling mistake is his…

Today, I spotted a link from the i newspaper to an article from the Independent in regards to how graduates from the first round of tuition fee hikes are doing. And one respondent typified an attitude that saddens and annoys me: that graduates don’t like menial work. I’ve previously made my feelings on this matter known in a post earlier this year in regards to the Job Centre’s approach to work experience.

It’s an appalling attitude to have. This guy’s argument of essentially saying why should his taxes pay for the education of under-graduates is not helpful and becomes nullified by his other argument that graduates should do menial work. Menial work doesn’t pay enough for people with student loans to pay back. Simple as.

The fact of the matter is that the UK cannot afford to have its graduates doing menial work for any long length of time, because of government backed student loans. With so many graduates not getting into graduate level jobs near enough straight after graduation, we’ve – as a nation – got a toxic time bomb of student debt at our feet that once it goes off could cause lasting damage to us as tax payers and our economy and is probably doing a bit of damage already.

Think about it – not having graduates in graduate level jobs for a prolonged period of time means that there is a higher chance that the skills they have learned will become rusty or outdated thus making it even more difficult for them to obtain a job where they can pay it back.

Why should graduates not do menial work? It wastes time they could be spending looking for graduate jobs and getting the experience necessary to get into a graduate job in order to help alleviate this huge pile of debt.

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2 thoughts on ““Menial work being beneth them?” (them a.k.a. graduates)

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. Menial work doesnt pay well enough to pay student debt? Are you sure? I can make more doing menial work than I would at a graduate level job.

    I think however, that you may have a point that there is a responsibility to make use of ones qualifications.

    • This blog post is strictly referring to the government backed student loan system in the UK, not loans you can get straight from banks as part of your regular account.

      In the UK, when a person refers to menial work, we’re mainly talking about jobs in retail, catering, low-end office admin jobs, cleaning, caring and not skilled labour (skilled labour being things like plumbing, electrical work, carpentry).

      All the above jobs pay roughly just above minimum wage or is actually at that rate. When you’re paid those sorts of amounts and even if you work at least 35-40 hours a week you will probably only be earning about £13,000-£14,000 a year, before tax. Under the previous student loans system (before the huge tuition fee rise) you had to be earning at least £15,000 a year before the government would actively start taking money from you to start paying back the loan, now it’s £20,000.

      Graduates in low paid jobs in the UK could, in theory, try to save some of their pay and try to pay back this loan in bits. However, with the cost of living being so high, this would be inadvisable and it is why the government has these thresholds of £15,000 and £20,000 that you have to meet before you start paying it back.

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