This is the question most bachelor graduates face after receiving their first academic degree. In doing so, as an alumnus, you will come across a wide variety of statements, quotes or assumptions about careers, salaries and opportunities with and without a master's degree when doing your research. In order to create order in this chaos of information overload, we have filtered out the five most important theses and extensively tested them for their suitability for everyday use and truth content.
You will quickly notice that there is hardly any statement that we deal with here that can be answered 100%. There are simply too many influences and unknown factors. In addition, there is the fact that individual commitment in later professional life but also in studies is one of the main factors for a promising career. And this is ultimately everyone's responsibility.
Nevertheless, we will provide you with an overview of important questions that concern you as a Bachelor graduate:
Thesis no. 1: "It is more difficult to start a professional life without a Master"
This fundamental statement is one of the most important that interests possible master applicants. After all, one hopes to significantly increase one's professional opportunities and qualifications through a second academic degree and to stand out from the competition.
Basically, it can be said that it depends here quite particularly on the field of study during the studies. For example, it is extremely difficult for bachelor's graduates in natural sciences such as chemistry to find a job. Because due to the fact that they have hardly any practical knowledge despite their studies, they cannot distinguish themselves from laboratory assistants, etc., in the field. take off.
Therefore, in these disciplines, it is important to continue on the academic path as much as possible. This is a way to expand one's professional knowledge and make oneself more attractive to future employers.
The same applies to those interested in the field of research and development. Because here, too, the employer requires a sound and in-depth knowledge of the particular field of activity. In addition, the graduate can distinguish himself from the masses through targeted specialization during his academic career and thus faces less competition.
In addition, there are also professions that you cannot and may not enter without a completed master's degree with a final state examination. Examples of this are the teaching profession and psychotherapy, where a bachelor's degree alone is not enough.
It all depends on the department
For the majority of the student body, both Bachelor's and Master's graduates have industry-dependent opportunities to enter professional life. The respective job advertisements often only ask for a university degree, but do not specify this further.
Even in the humanities, it is difficult to get a foot in the door of this industry with only a bachelor's degree and no practical experience. Here, a large proportion of graduates are employed in non-specialist areas after graduation.
In contrast, there are certain courses of study in which a lack of a master's degree does not harm career entry prospects. Graduates from the field of information technology benefit particularly from this. Because of the constantly increasing demand in this industry, as well as the shortage of skilled workers, they have very high chances of finding a good job. The situation is similar with bachelor's graduates in economics who aspire to a career in sales or accounting.
Thesis no. 2: "No management position without a master's degree"
Experts' opinions differ widely on this topic. While some are convinced that only a small proportion of bachelor's graduates can take up management positions, others disagree and state that the acceptance and prestige of the bachelor's degree is currently on the rise.
For both theories, examples can be found in the real economy and here, too, a lot depends on personal commitment.
In favor of master's graduates in a management role is the fact that the master's program clearly departs from the rigid learning methods of the bachelor's program. Here, practical topics are studied in depth and projects with real-world relevance are worked on and developed. This means that, in addition to the technical depth, the soft skills of the academic are also further developed.
Those in favor of the bachelor's degree, on the other hand, argue that graduates are usually younger and can therefore enter the workforce earlier and gain valuable practical experience. Here, too, it is important to differentiate from industry to industry and to deal intensively with the desired job description. For only with a certain overview can it become clear which prerequisites are necessary for a successful career.
The situation is different for students who aspire to a position in higher public service. Clear boundaries are drawn here: The bachelor's degree serves as an "entry-level degree" into the higher civil service; but when it comes to advancement to the higher civil service, a master's degree is indispensable. An attempt by the federal government to loosen these structures in the past failed due to enormous protests. Background information is summarized in this article.
Thesis no. 3: "Better career prospects and promotion opportunities"
Alternative career path
If you don't want to be dependent on a company and the opportunities it offers after graduation, you always have the option of building up your own business during your studies. You can find tips on this in our article on setting up a business during your studies.
Whether master's or bachelor's degree – in most cases, the degree is "only" the entry into professional life. Once in professional life, many doors are open to you, depending on your personal commitment. Of course, a second academic degree also enhances one's curriculum vitae. But especially nowadays, soft skills and the quality of the work in practice are in the foreground for the companies. Even in the current "boss generation" it can be seen that academic further education is not absolutely necessary for a high position in the company. This can be deduced from the declining proportion of DAX board members with doctorates.
Proposition no. 4: "I'll earn more with a master's"
Most people know that money and career are not everything. At least that's what they say. Still, the question of a decent salary is one of the main reasons students decide whether or not to pursue a master's degree.
One thing is certain: You'll make more money as a master's in most cases. And this is justified. Because the technical training, time commitment, and general stress that four more semesters entails are great and should be rewarded. Here it can be said that the starting salary for bachelor's graduates is on average around approx. Five to fifteen percent lower than their academic master's counterparts. You can find a suitable statistic on Absolventa under point 5.
But when it comes to the progression and future extra earnings, experts have divided opinions.
Part of the belief is that the financial advantage of master's graduates can be caught up over time by the greater work experience of bachelor's graduates who entered earlier. In contrast, the other part assumes that this advantage will persist through the career.
"When entering the workforce, master's graduates earn more. They have studied longer. Bachelor's graduates have the advantage of being three years younger on average. By the time masters enter the workforce, bachelors already have a head start on work experience. Salaries equalize as a result."