What University Courses Get Me A Job?

Subjects such as medicine, maths, engineering, physics, and chemistry are associated with good salaries, but much depends on the career you choose when you graduate.

Different degree subjects are on average associated with different levels of pay and employment prospects. But don’t get hung up on this – it’s important to pick a subject that you can do well in and that will motivate you enough to work hard.

Don’t be tempted to choose a topic based purely on final salary – after all, if you don’t like the subject you’ll perform poorly, and that massive final salary may never materialise. Rather, best to follow the old adage of ‘do what you love, and love what you do’. As the pension age continues to rise, we’re spending longer at work than ever before – why risk being trapped in a career and job you hate when you could have enjoyment in your 40 + years of working life?

The undergraduate degree subjects associated with the highest salaries are medicine and those that relate closely to maths, physics and chemistry. However, not all graduates from these subjects find it easy to get their first job.

Biology graduates are further down the salary scale and don’t always step straight into a professional career. Graduates from creative subjects often need to pick up casual work but are surprisingly successful at finding jobs that relate to their degree.

Keep in mind that statistics don’t tell you anything about cause and effect. Studying a particular subject is no guarantee of a job or a good salary. For example, bright students are often attracted to challenging subjects – and are also likely to appeal to employers and do well in job interviews. So some of these graduates might have done equally well in the job market whatever subject they’d studied.

Which degree subjects are best for graduate employment?

Each year UK universities contact their former students six months after they have graduated to find out what they are doing – for example working, studying for further qualification or searching for work. This is known as the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. The data is broken down by subject studied, so it is worth taking a look at this for subjects that interest you.

The results shed interesting light onto the data provided elsewhere in these labour market guides. In particular, some job areas that appear to offer good employment prospects for experienced staff seem to present difficulties for graduates seeking their first jobs in that area.

What can I do with my degree?

Whether you choose to find a job or begin a postgraduate study, there are a number of routes you can take after university. Explore your career options and see where your degree could take you.

Accounting and finance

As well as providing a route into financial professions, a degree in accountancy and finance develops skills that are useful in a range of sectors

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  1. Chartered accountant
  2. Chartered certified accountant
  3. Chartered management accountant
  4. Chartered public finance accountant
  5. Company secretary
  6. External auditor
  7. Forensic accountant
  8. Stockbroker

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  1. Actuary
  2. Business development manager
  3. Data analyst
  4. Economist
  5. Licensed conveyancer
  6. Management consultant
  7. Mortgage adviser
  8. Purchasing manager
  9. Retail banker
  10. Tax adviser

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don’t restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Keith Beekmeyer, CEO of Newpoint Capital, says: ‘”As a finance business, we’re obviously interested in candidates that can demonstrate an ability in a core finance subject. We do look at what our graduates have studied, and we consider carefully where we could match skills with areas of work. For example, a candidate with no finance background but with a degree in one or more of the major european languages could be the perfect fit for opportunities within our client accounts team. We don’t limit our options, but as a general rule, the better the candidate’s performed at university, the more interested we’re going to be.”

Other associated degree courses you could consider to work within the City of London are: –

Business management

The skills you gain on a business management degree will allow you to start contributing to your employer’s organisation quickly and effectively.

Job options 

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  1. Actuarial analyst
  2. Business adviser
  3. Business analyst
  4. Business development manager
  5. Chartered management accountant
  6. Corporate investment banker
  7. Data analyst
  8. Data scientist
  9. Forensic accountant
  10. Insurance underwriter
  11. Management consultant
  12. Project manager
  13. Risk manager
  14. Stockbroker
  15. Supply chain manager

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  1. Construction manager
  2. Costs lawyer
  3. Environmental engineer
  4. External auditor
  5. Human resources officer
  6. Logistics and distribution manager
  7. Marketing executive
  8. Mortgage adviser
  9. Retail manager
  10. Sales executive
  11. Systems analyst
  12. Urban designer

As Mr Beekmeyer points out above, language degrees are popular recruiting grounds for big companies to gain candidates from.

Modern languages

Language skills can be used in almost any career, and particularly in businesses that trade internationally.

Job options 

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  1. Interpreter
  2. Secondary school teacher
  3. Translator

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  1. Broadcast journalist
  2. Detective
  3. Diplomatic service officer
  4. Education consultant
  5. English as a foreign language teacher
  6. International aid/development worker
  7. Logistics and distribution manager
  8. Marketing executive
  9. Patent examiner
  10. Private tutor
  11. Publishing rights manager
  12. Sales executive
  13. Tour manager

Other big companies have been known to look for candidates with excellent results in fields such as public relations, statistics and of course web design and development.

Websites such as prospects.ac.uk have excellent advice about future careers based on the course you’re studying. It’s important to not be too rigid in your career choice at an early stage and to leave room for natural discovery of a job, field, or industry that is absolutely right for you. However, it’s undeniably the case that you do need a plan for what you will do the degree after University. Having a career path will help shape and frame your actions and propel you to interviews and onto your first successes.