How much will your degree earn you?

  |     |   Career Advice

As final year students prepare to enter the workforce, new research reveals the difference in salaries across various industries in the UK, including engineering, media, law and marketing.

The research, which analysed more than 5,400 graduate job postings, found that the average salary for a university graduate is £24,804. The average salary for those with a media degree, for example, can be as high as £34,244, while the average salary for someone in the tourism sector is just £21,901 – around £12,000 less.

On the flip side, starting salaries for charities (£16,075), customer services (£19,948), marketing (£20,558), medical (£21,709) and tourism (£21,901) come in at the bottom of the pile.


Average Annual Earning Potential for Graduates 

Depending on your degree, graduates can enjoy a wealth of career paths and salaries once you leave university and further into your career. According to Save the Student, these are the salaries you can expect with the relevant degrees:

  Art (creative, visual and performance)

If you are wanting to get into Creative Arts like design, music, visual arts and performing, opportunities are endless, and salaries will vary. Typically, the starting salary for a Museum Curator is around £18,000 while those interested in digital art like graphic and digital design can expect a higher salary starting at £15,000–£19,000, with the potential to rise up to £27,00 after some years of experience.

  Banking and Accounting

Salaries for accountancy can vary depending on location, specialisation and size of the company, although graduates can still enjoy a decent starting package of £23,180. If you are really looking to start off with a phenomenal salary, investment bankers have been known to earn up to £45,000 right off the bat.

  Business, Marketing and Management

These degrees can open plenty of doors for graduates and some well-paid careers in accountancy or investment banking as well as marketing, HR, Retail Management and Media. A career in retail management could earn you a salary of between £17,000–£23,000, while a career in HR can start you off with a cool £19,000. Digital marketing can expect a starting salary of between £18,000–£22,000.

  Computer Science

Your salary will depend on what career path you follow. IT jobs like programming, systems analysis, web design, UX design and more are in high demand and promise good salaries which can range from £17,000 all the way up to £70,000.


Teaching positions are always in high demand in England and Wales. Starting salaries for qualified teachers range from £22,917 to £28,660 for London-based positions.


Depending on your specialty, engineering graduates can enjoy salaries that start at £25,000 for civil engineers to £27,696 for chemical engineering.


These degrees are quite flexible in terms of job hunting, with possible options being Media, Teaching and Marketing, to name a few. Starting salaries for those in publishing and journalism are around £19,000–£23,000, although unpaid internships are also a reality in this industry.


Despite what many think, a law degree is not a quick ticket to a high salary. Law graduates will have to start from the bottom, while the most competitive firms can offer salaries between £22,000 and £45,000. Life


The starting salary for a Clinical Scientist ranges between £26,250–£35,250, while Biomedical Scientists can expect anything from £22,000 to £28,500.


Of course, a degree in medicine is as prestigious as it can get, although, like law, graduates must be prepared to start from the bottom. Unlike law, graduates are able to earn more faster and have access to better benefits. Graduate salaries for those going into Adult Nursing is around £22,000–£28,500, while junior doctors can earn £26,614 and specialists between £36,461 and £46,208. For animal lovers, veterinary medicine offers an average starting salary of around £27,721.


Graduate Careers with the Best Prospects

More students are graduating from college and university than ever before, which means students can expect to enter one of the toughest job markets yet. Therefore, students should equip themselves with the right tools to enter one of these in-demand careers:

  • IT security architects
  • Data analysts
  • Risk analysts
  • Part-qualified accountants
  • Civil engineers
  • Payroll team leaders
  • Java developers
  • Safety case engineers
  • Building surveyors
  • Project managers


When to Apply for Graduate Jobs

Graduates should consider applying for a job as soon as possible, although most graduate jobs begin the September following graduation. Some top employers begin their application process up to a year before the start date, so it is advised to start applying the moment you know what you want to do.

The summer before your final year is the best time to start thinking about your career, researching your skills and qualifications, and considering variables like job location and salary. The September – January period is the key time for submitting your applications, but you should also start preparing for the long process of interviews and assessments, which usually begin after February.

Keep in mind that many graduate schemes are seasonal, so if you miss the application deadline, you may have to wait another year before reapplying. That said, some schemes do follow a rolling recruitment process, with various roles available throughout the year.


Graduate Jobs and Schemes – A Timeline

It is recommended to make use of a timeline when applying for any graduate jobs or schemes to avoid things falling through the cracks or missing an important deadline.

  • July before your final year: Start researching what roles and companies would suit you, what you want to do and what you envision your future career to be.
  • August: During this time, you should be thinking about your application – how to apply, what the requirements are, and updating your CV.
  • September: Applications open. Before you apply, chat with a career advisor and get them to thoroughly review your application.
  • October – January: Send your application. Send as many applications to various jobs as possible for the best chance at success.
  • February: Most deadlines have now passed. Graduate schemes will begin their recruitment process by filtering through the applicants.
  • March – April: If you have passed the first round, you will be sent assessments, which could be followed by interviews and even an offer.
  • May – June: There is a chance that certain schemes could be re-opened if more jobs become available, giving you a second chance if you have not been accepted in the first round.
  • July: Your application will be reviewed, and you will either be offered the job or not.
  • August – September: If successful, you will begin your graduate scheme. If not, the application process will start again.


Who Are the Top Employers for Graduates?

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers recently released their annual guide to Britain's most sought-after graduate employers, with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) once again taking the top spot by offering 1,200 graduate jobs and a highly competitive salary. Civil Service comes in second place with 1,000 graduate jobs, followed by Aldi, Teach First, Google, Deloitte, NHS, and KPMG. Rounding off the top ten are accounting professionals EY and chemical and pharmaceuticals company GSK, both offering plenty of graduate jobs and competitive salaries.


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