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The highest and lowest earning degrees revealed

With UCAS applications closing in January 2020, the Christmas break is the perfect time for students to think about the degrees they’d like to apply for, and according to YouGov¹ data, one in five (19%) UK workers chose their career path based on the salary they could earn. 

In a bid to help the nation’s next wave of university students who are looking for the same financial benefits following graduation, leading job search engine, Adzuna, has revealed which qualifications have the highest and lowest earning potential. The figures are based on Adzuna’s analysis of over 500,000 CVs, revealing average estimated salaries per qualification five years after graduating.

Using the data, Adzuna’s team of job market experts have created the “Value My Degree”² tool, which uses text mining technology and unique algorithms to provide a ‘market value’ to a degree. The tool also provides a list of roles students are most likely to land from each qualification.

Technology, engineering and finance dominated the ten most valuable degrees, while care and creative industries made up most of the lowest valued degrees. When it comes to languages, German was the only subject to make it into the top ten highest earners, while Italian had the sixth lowest value. 

The top 10 UK degrees with the highest earning potential after five years of graduating are: 

 

1

Software Engineering 

£37,033

2

Computer Science 

£34,088

3

Finance

£33,350

4

Electronic Engineering 

£33,072

5

Engineering

£32,607

6

Business

£32,556

7

Mechanical Engineering 

£31,033

8

Economics

£30,650

9

German

£31,269

10

Marketing

£30,974

 

According to further Adzuna data, there are currently 16,605 available jobs in software engineering, with a further 10,901 in computer science, suggesting that not only are these areas lucrative, they also offer healthy job prospects. 

 

The 10 UK degrees with the lowest earning potential after five years of graduating are: 

 

1

      Counselling

          £20,719

2

      Social Work 

          £22,276

3

      Ecology 

          £23,066

4

      Pharmacy 

          £23,462

5

      Nursing 

          £24,132

6

      Italian 

          £24,425

7

      Social Sciences 

          £24,602

8

      Criminology

          £24,808

9

      Art 

          £24,862

10

      English Language

          £24,990

 

With counselling and social work found to provide the lowest value within five years of graduating, further job market analysis from Adzuna has revealed that job vacancies in these areas have also seen a continued increase, as employers struggle to fill the roles. 

Users of the ValueMyDegree tool can select the qualification type, institution and course name to obtain an instant ‘valuation’; revealing the average salary earned by those with the same qualification, 60 months (or five years) after they graduated. The tool uses text mining and machine learning methods to cross analyse this insight against average UK salaries. 

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Choosing a degree subject can be tricky. While it’s important for students to enjoy the subject they study, it’s not uncommon for people to make their choice based on the potential careers, benefits and salaries that will open for them.

“With the average UK salary sitting at £25,844 p.a. in 2019,³ it could be worrying for some students to see their potential salary falling below this, even after gaining an expensive qualification and working for several years. Many students are now leaving university with debts amounting to £27,000⁴ so you wouldn’t blame them for wanting to see better return on their investment.

“In building this tool, we wanted to help students gain a better understanding of the options available to them and what that could mean for their future.”

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