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Using earnings as a measure of the value of higher education disadvantages creative graduates who often have motivations other than money for entering work, says a new report from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). These graduates are more likely to be self-employed or run their own businesses than non-creative graduates, and provide good value to the Treasury by supplying skilled employees to the creative industries.  
The report For Love or Money? points out that studies attempting to quantify the economic value of higher education tend to focus on graduate earnings and find that taking arts-based subjects leads to the lowest salaries, but this is at odds with the significant growth of the creative economy over the past 10 years and the skills gaps in the creative workforce. Researchers suggest that the conclusion that creative graduates accept lower earnings in exchange for work that is intrinsically satisfying is too simplistic: the disparity may arise because the motivation of creative graduates for taking jobs outside the creative sector is different from those who study non-creative subjects.