Monday, 5 February 2018

Things which everybody already knew but are presented as news.

From the BBC:

Mothers in part-time jobs are being hit by a "pay penalty" and are often not given pay rises linked to experience, a new study has suggested.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies report found by the time a couple's first child is aged 20, many mothers earn nearly a third less than the fathers. A key factor was women working part-time in motherhood, the report said.

A gender pay gap between graduates has not improved since 1993, despite gaps narrowing for non-graduates, it added.

The original headline and article was much less nuanced and just wailed on about the 'gender pay gap' and highlighted that the 'gender pay gap' was larger for graduates than non-graduates.

Happily enough, somebody then sat down and actually read the report and did a more accurate write up to explain it's a 'mothers pay gap' and how it arises. The point about graduates is that their salaries tend to increase with seniority much more steeply than for non-graduate jobs, so hitting the pause button on pay rises by going part-time will lead to a bigger gap between mothers and everybody else.

Conversely, seeing as so few jobs require much physical strength*, any natural advantage that men used to have is being eroded. (*Call me a chauvinist, but how many female rubbish collectors do you see?) So we'd expect the 'gender pay gap' at the lower end to flatten of its own accord.

On the subject of graduates, also from the BBC:

Many graduates receive "paltry returns" for their degrees despite racking up £50,000 in debt, says the chairman of the Education Select Committee.

Robert Halfon will say in a speech on Monday, that between a fifth and a third of graduates take non-graduate jobs, and that any extra returns for having a degree "vary wildly". He will also suggest that too many people are studying academic degrees.

University leaders maintain that a degree remains an excellent investment.

Well duh. There are only so many jobs that really need graduates (precious few, if you ask me). If more people are doing degrees than there are graduate jobs, clearly, for the excess, the whole exercise is pointless, purely in career terms (good fun though). People were saying this twenty years ago when Tony Blair went mad and decided half of school leavers 'should' go to university.

And university leaders would say that, wouldn't they?


Lola said...

" Tony Blair WENT mad . The man was clearly an utterly self serving lunatic from the get go.

Apart from that, yes.

I did ONC and HNC Civils and then professional exams. My HNC was probably as good as a degree these days.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, point taken.

University grade inflation kicked in long after your days when you just studied what you needed to actually know. It's now an arm's race.

Bayard said...

L, would you have done it if it was going to cost you the then equivalent of £50,000? I'm not sure I would have.

Lola said...

B. No! I went the ONC / HNC route as I wanted the work and the pay. In those days they CUT you pay when you had day release. Civils is a practical subject and day release is a good way to do it. Not sure what they do now though.

jack ketch said...

Instead of 'investing in my future' and taking a free ride (grant back then) to one of the best Unis in the land, I decided to invest in alcohol (where else do you get 40%?).

Still not sure it was such a bad move. 4 years of pouring over cuneiform scratches in some clay tablet to end up debating how many candles should be placed over the altar on St.Bogoff's day or 4 years getting paid to massacre my liver, complete my collection of STIs and meet some really interesting people? Tough choice....and anyways Hammurabi is overrated.

L fairfax said...

Even 23 years ago I knew people with English degrees who became care workers. Tony Blair should have cut student numbers not increased

jack ketch said...

Slightly at a tangent but back in the mid 80s in 6th Form, those of my peers wishing to go into teaching were getting conditional offers of , on one memorable occasion, 2 Es! (for those not au fait with the old A level system; an 'E' means you turned up for the exam and managed to spell your name correctly, the 'pass' grade was a 'C').

Once you realise those 2EEers are today's head teachers and leading lights of the 'profession', nothing about the Education system or the NUT should surprise you ever again.

ThomasBHall said...

A two E offer just means they really want you to go there. I'm proud of the fact my wife got an EE offer to Cambridge in 2000 or so.

jack ketch said...

"I'm proud of the fact my wife got an EE offer to Cambridge"

That is indeed something to be celebrated. However I doubt it applies in the case of Upper Colostomy Bag Teacher Training College .

Sobers said...

University graduates don't have '£50k debts', they have a graduate tax liability that only kicks in once they earn over a certain threshold, and is written off if they pay nothing for long enough. Thats not a debt. If it is can I borrow £1m on those terms please?

It would make more sense to abolish the 'loans' and just call it what it is, a graduate tax. The only reason why they don't I assume is that actually implementing a graduate tax is more complicated than the loans system. But they should rename it at least, because people imagine they have this 'debt' when they no more have a student loan debt than they have a 'citizens debt' that must be paid off by making payments out of their income (ie an income tax). It must put some people off going to uni when there's no reason for them to worry at all.

Lola said...

Sobers. Indeed.

James Higham said...

Or we could do India, where everyone has a degree ... or so it seems.

Mike W said...

Sobers, Fairfax. Agreed.

I bet Nick Clegg still cannot figure the ar#e f##king he got over this loans issue. Martin Lewis, in the Money Show ITV, is going to have another go at it next week I noticed.

Back in the day, I remember parents of the 'snow flakes', praying their lazy, little shits could manage CCC second time around. Surely, too good for the Poly that awaited them at DDD? Mum could then put the grad photos on the wall with no social stigma. Job done. :)

ontheotherhand said...

Quite right Sobers. If there is no job around when you are 18, why not take an 'income' from going to some university or other instead? This destroys the positive signalling effect that a degree historically gave to employers. That theory is similar to the 1970s paper on The Market for Lemons (a lemon being US slang for a bad car). The seller of a second hand car is the only one with full information about the quality of the car, the buyer can only guess. There is an asymmetry of information. They buyer refuses to pay the price for a good quality second hand car, and the market for good second hand cars collapses.

Similarly an employer wants to 'buy' a good employee. Only the potential employee knows whether they are high quality or not. So how can the quality employee signal to the employer? Well, if they are willing to put at risk £50k and forgo 3 years of some earnings to invest in themselves, that is a strong credible signal that they are quality. It doesn't matter what they learn, just that they worked hard enough to graduate with a good degree.

BUT because today they are not putting at risk any money, the employer cannot distinguish so easily what quality the graduate offers.

L fairfax said...

You seem to assume that people can judge themselves correctly, there are lots of examples that people cannot.
(And that 18 year olds are able to make good life choices).

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, "It would make more sense to abolish the 'loans' and just call it what it is, a graduate tax."

Yes of course, I have posted about this. The "student debts" manage to combine the worst aspects of a tax with the worst aspects of a debt.

But the Tories only did it to fuck over the LIb Dems, so they wanted to call it "debt".