David Matthews’ feature “Fuzzy logic” (3 August) raises the question of whether “firms themselves really value the kind of critical thinking that academics prize”. The evidence suggests that they do.
The Futuretrack longitudinal survey (funded by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit) asked recent graduates the extent to which their undergraduate programmes developed their skills and capabilities in the area of “critical evaluation”. After controlling for numerous other factors – including A-level grades, degree class, subject of study and a variety of other skills – those whose critical evaluation skills were developed “some” by their undergraduate programmes earned incomes after graduation that were 19 per cent higher than those whose critical evaluation skills were not developed. For graduates whose critical evaluation skills were developed “a lot”, the earnings premium is 29 per cent.
Professor of economics
Lancaster University Management School