The decision about which subject to study at university can be driven by many factors. Many students choose on the basis that they love the subject, and that's fine. However, attractive as it is to see university as pure pursuit of knowledge, it most often determines the course of your career in the job market. Because of this, most students applying for university want to know what their prospects will be. Which subjects will attract the most money?
In fact, there are three ways of looking at this — the chances of getting a job on leaving university, the level of starting salary and the long-term prospects.
Which Subjects Are Most Employable?
As you might expect, the most employable degrees are those which lead into sectors with the heaviest demand for new recruits. For students taking a degree in Medicine and Dentistry, for example, 97.5% of graduates find either employment or further training within the first year. Other degrees that perform highly in this regard include Nursing, Veterinary Science, and Education and Teaching. These will all offer a great chance of finding a job — although that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be the best paid. At the other end of the scale, graduates in subjects such as Languages, Philosophy, Politics, and Media and Communications are only between 78.8% and 83.2% likely to find jobs.
Which Subjects Attract the Best Starting Salaries?
When it comes to the highest starting salary, the degrees at the top of the pile are, again, Medicine and Dentistry, along with Veterinary Science, with average starting salaries a year after graduation of £36,600 and £28,000 respectively. An Engineering degree will attract an average first-year salary of £26,500, and Economics £26,000. Again, this is in stark contrast to the lowest-earning subjects. Creative Arts and Design, for instance, attract no more than £14,900 in the first year, while Sport and Exercise Science are only slightly better at £15,800.
Which Subjects Offer the Highest Growth Rates?
Moving straight from university into a high-paying job is attractive, of course, but your career is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, some of the degrees that attract the lowest starting salaries have excellent long-term prospects. One of the most notable is Sport and Exercise Science. Although you'd start at on average at £15,800, a successful career path with this qualification can see this rising to £30,600 by the tenth year. How Should I Interpret These Figures? It's important to remember that these are average figures. It doesn't guarantee, for example, that all Medicine graduates will automatically earn as much or Creative Arts graduates as little as the figures quoted. Your decision will also depend on whether you want to prioritise job security, high entry salary or long-term prospects.
Remember as well that setting your heart on an advantageous degree won't necessarily work unless you have an aptitude for the subject. On the other hand, if your current grades aren't quite good enough to win a place on the course you want, some extra tuition could make the difference. Register with TutorExtra to find help in getting a place on a degree course that can lead to a successful career.