Lunching last week with a young external member of one of my teams, he remarked that his firm were no longer taking graduates with only a first degree; not until entrants had gained their master's did the firm find they had the requisite skills to make good professional employees. It was a purely economic decision.
Back in my day, only some one in twenty of us went on to university. I suppose the number of young people taking their master's must now be something in this region, and that holders of MAs and MScs now fill the posts that BAs and BScs did then. Like poverty, academic attainment is relative, not absolute.
A throw-away comment from Rees-Mogg in the Mail that ten history undergraduates at a leading university were between them unable to name a single nineteenth century Prime Minister is profoundly depressing. I'd have imagined that most people would have got Gladstone and Disraeli, many could have named Salisbury or Melbourne, and a few would have known Pitt, Wellington, Grenville, Portland, the unfortunate Spencer-Percival, Liverpool, Canning, Goderich, Grey, Peel, Russell, Derby, Aberdeen, Pam or Rosebury. That they are more familiar with Hess, Goering, Himmler and Goebels points to a profound failing in our education system.