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We take a look at the degrees that give you the best chance of employment…

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

We are already well into 2024 with April just around the corner! Before you know it you’ll be planning next steps, one of which may be university.

When you plan your career path you might be considering studying a degree at university. Unless you plan to land a degree apprenticeship, you’ll need a student loan and have a debt when you begin work. We take a look at the degrees that give you the best chance of employment and a good graduate starting salary to help pay your student loan off quicker.

Planning your career path may involve going to university. Choosing the right university and degree course is important. It can make the difference between getting a well-paid job or being considered to have, as Rishi Sunak describes them, a ‘rip off degree’. As Rishi Sunak begins to ask the Office for Students (OfS) to limit the number of students universities can recruit onto courses that are failing to deliver good outcomes for students, we take a look at what courses are popular and which ones can get you employed quicker with a good salary.

So, how are we assessing these degrees? Well, a specialist technical SEO company in Leeds called SALT.agency collated and analysed over 24,000 pieces of data including employability rates, course popularity trends and more. They wanted to provide data-driven insights to help prospective degree students make informed decisions regarding their choice of university and course.

Let’s begin by taking a look at what degree courses are most popular. The top ten courses below are based on the number of students that enrolled on them. The number of enrolments are the totals across three academic years from 2019 to 2022. Business and Management courses were the most popular with nearly double the enrolments than the second most popular course. This is Medicine and associated medical studies such as dentistry and nursing.

Business and management530,460
Medicine and associated subjects366,210
Social sciences286,325
Design, creative and performing arts189,890
Engineering and technology185,725
Education and teaching135,960
Biological and sport sciences117,505

Now let’s take a look at the employment rates. The SALT.agency team analysed data from Gov.uk, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and Emolument. They crunched the data to reveal the employment rate and the graduate salary associated with it. Interestingly the degrees that will give you the best chance of being employed quickly are medicine and dentistry, education and veterinary science.

Subject Employment rate (%)Average Salary (£)
Medicine & Dentistry9235,000
Veterinary science8832,000
Medicine Related8726,000
Social Studies7426,000
Mass Communications7423,000
Combined Subjects7126,500
Engineering and Tech7129,500

They also looked at what the top ten sectors with the highest average graduate salaries. If you are basing your career path on which sectors pay best for graduates this is the list to take a good look at.

Sector Average graduate salary (£)
Internet & Digital29,354
Buying and Merchandising29,254
Military & Defence29,033
Science & Technology28,982

Thierry Ngutegure, Head of Data Insight at SALT.agency, has noted some interesting trends in salaries.

“We found that non-grads have actually seen a larger percentage increase in their salaries than graduates over the last 10 years – we can see that in total “non-graduates” saw a 6.45% increase in salaries from 2012 to 2022, whereas Post graduates and graduates both saw a decrease in average salaries in the same period. Male Post Graduates saw a 9.80% decrease in their average salaries, which is the largest decrease across gender and level of education. Female Non-Graduates saw a 10.71% increase in their average salaries across the ten years, which is the largest change across gender and level of study” he revealed.

Thierry Ngutegure, Head of Data Insight at SALT.agency

Applications for university degree courses in 2024 closed on 31st January 2024 and the course you select is important. We hope this article helps to inform the course you choose.