The Complete University Guide

Starting salaries: What the future holds

Will these years of study lead to a job? Lula Boardman and Alix O'Neill look at pay and job prospects

With so many decisions facing prospective university students it is no wonder the thought of a job slips under their radar. Fresher's week is imminent and funding their degree is more pressing than future career concerns.

But three years go by in a flash. Before you can say "graduation ceremony", you will be thinking "job". Today's tables can help you. Gathered from students six months after leaving university, the figures show that your job prospects vary greatly depending on the degree you choose.

It should come as no surprise that vocational degrees give graduates the greatest employment opportunities. Medicine and dentistry have the highest rates of employment – 87 and 83 per cent of students respectively go straight into work and earn more than other graduates. Medics start on a salary of £30,492 while dentistry students can expect up to £28,030 a year.

It certainly pays to be a scientist. The statistics show that eight out of the highest 10 starting salaries go to graduates with science-related degrees. The other categories that do all right are graduates of economics and social work. The average starting salary for economics graduates is £24,466 and for social workers £22,560. Salaries for mathematics graduates are also firmly in the top 20.

It really does make sense to go into engineering, if you have the right A-levels because most engineering degrees lead to well-paid jobs. The aspiring chemical engineer can earn £25,136, and the civil engineer £22,392 in their first job. Engineering is better paid than computer science, widely regarded as a sensible option for those who are interested in technology.

In some subjects you will need to do a further degree before seeking employment, for example law, where further legal training is required, and chemistry, where many students go on to postgraduate study.

Brian Heap, author of Good Degree Courses, attributes the higher employment rates of science graduates to the fact that their courses are more likely to offer a sandwich structure, where they spend a year away from university on a work placement.

"There is an 80 to 90 per cent employment rate among students in sandwich courses," he says. "A lot of help is given to students on business studies and sciences degrees: such as how to write a good CV and how to give a good interview, and this accounts for their rates among these students."

Bottom of the employment table come sociology graduates, showing that this subject is not seen as preparing people for work. Only 30 per cent are employed in a graduate job six months after graduation on an average salary of £17,685.

But not all humanities students should be concerned. The statistics show that many courses are useful for employment, specifically languages. Those who leave university with a language fare significantly better than those without.

Many prospective students, uncertain of what to study opt for what they know, for example, history, geography or English. However, these subjects are often difficult to get in to and, when compared with more unusual courses such as Middle Eastern and African Studies, fare worse in terms of graduate employment and earnings.

Starting salaries for graduates in subjects such as East and South Asian Studies or town and country planning and landscape, are on average about £2,000 higher than graduates of more traditional arts and humanities degrees. Nearly 20 per cent more graduates in East and South Asian Studies are employed in graduate positions than those with a history degree.

And a less conventional degree will help you stand out from the crowd. Angela Phillips, convenor of the MA journalism course at Goldsmiths, says that a lot of students think that English is the right degree for journalism. "I don't think there is a correct degree. If you've spent three months researching a fascinating dissertation in anthropology you'll have a lot to talk about at interview. I am interested in people who are overflowing with enthusiasm."

While science and business degrees are best for graduate prospects, it's really how you use your time at university that matters. So, relax, enjoy the university experience and don't lose sight of the next step.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

**Primary Teachers Needed Urgently in Southport**

£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

KS2 Teacher Cornwall

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

KS2 supply teacher

£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting fo...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London