The job market has never been more competitive. Every year, thousands of graduates and school leavers become active job seekers. For recent graduates, every trait of individuality counts to stand out and get that sought after employment opportunity. The means in which to make yourself noticed is not a set formula and can be achieved through a variety of means; however, the option to pursue a postgraduate degree seems to have increased in popularity over the past years.
Traditionally pursued by more experienced professionals, the target audience of a Master's Degree has shifted considerably. More and more, young graduates are moving into Postgraduate studies immediately after the conclusion of their Undergraduate degree. As the search for an employment opportunity becomes fiercer, recent graduates seek out a competitive edge that will land them their desired job, and, in most cases, lacking practical knowledge of the industry they wish to work in, whether it is sports or any other business, they choose to further improve their education and seek specific academic qualifications in what is believed will improve their chances of obtaining employment.
This highlights the question of wherein lies the limit: if postgraduate degrees are being perceived as a potential stepping stone for recent graduates, what is to stop the trend from moving further up the Postgraduate track onto PhDs as a means of differentiation? And if so, is this not a natural development in any case: as information becomes ever so more readily available to the younger generations, is the need to continuously improve your knowledge and skills not a natural process?
A Postgraduate degree is almost as large an investment as an Undergraduate degree, and the return can be equally as notorious, if not more. It will undoubtedly add great value to your academic qualifications and aid you in sharpening important interpersonal skills much valued in the workplace, attributes which were approached in the article ‘Transferring your degree skills into the working environment’. Arguably it is better suited for those who have some industry experience; however, has the increasing popularity of Postgraduate studies not made them a necessity?
There is no definitive answer. It is worth noting, however, that while academic qualifications are an important part of an individual’s intellectual property, ‘theory’ is limited without practical, hands on experience, and organisations in sport like to see a balance between academia and practical experience when assessing the quality of their applications.
Ultimately, the best approach in which to consider a Postgraduate degree is as a tool to enhance both your academic qualifications and employment prospects. It will not guarantee you that coveted job, but it will certainly not deter your prospects – if you set your study aims early on and select a Master’s programme suited for your career ambitions it can only aid your future progress.