As if choosing the perfect degree wasn't already enough of a challenge, the ultra-competitive UK job market means you also need to seriously consider whether your chosen qualification has enough of a demand to lead to actual job opportunities.
With that in mind, we did some research on the 10 most employable degrees and the sectors they fall into. So if you're looking to significantly improve your chances of becoming gainfully employed after graduation, these degrees may just provide the best return on your tuition fees.
|Degree/Course||Best Universities for this Degree||Employability Level|
|Medicine and Dentistry||Oxford, Cambridge and Cardiff University||No surprises here as 99% of all medicine and dentistry students land a job within six months of leaving uni.|
|Veterinary Science||Royal Veterinary College, University of Cambridge||This degree holds its own in the employment stakes with 98% of graduates finding work within six months after graduating.|
|Subjects Allied to Medicine||Oxford, Cambridge and Cardiff University||These degrees are not only some of the most popular, but also have an employability rate of 95% within six months of graduating.|
|Architecture, Building & Planning||Bath, Cambridge and Sheffield||When it comes to graduate prospects, 90% of students find employment within six months of graduating.|
|Education||Glasgow, Dundee and Cambridge||An impressive 90% of all teaching graduates land a job within six months of graduating as there is always a need for teachers.|
|Engineering||Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford||Another sought-after degree, graduates can look forward to employment rates of 85% within six months of graduating.|
|Computer Science||Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford||A computer science degree means a broad and diverse job market, including programming, virtual reality and even AI. Huge demand for these roles results in a success rate of 80% within six months of graduating.|
|Mathematical Sciences||Imperial College London, Cambridge and Oxford||Maths graduates are highly employable, especially in the IT or finance sectors. Graduates with this degree can enjoy an employability rate of 79%.|
|Business and Administrative Studies||University College London, Cambridge and Oxford||It comes as no surprise that 75% of graduates with this versatile degree are in full-time employment within six months of graduation.|
|Law||University College London, Cambridge and Oxford||Students with law degrees are quickly snapped up with an employment rate of 74% within six months of graduation.|
Most and Least Popular Degrees
According to the latest data by Hesa, female students are more likely to select medical-related subjects while male students prefer business degrees. The most popular undergraduate degrees among female students in the UK in 2016/17 were those allied to medicine, while the most popular subjects for male students were business and administrative studies. And what about the least popular degrees? For both male and female students, it was veterinary science.
The Rise of Degree Apprenticeships
Despite all this, there seems to be a shift in traditional academic routes as not all students are able to go after such high-demand and gruelling degrees. In addition, far too many students still struggle to make the leap from education to employment. This is reflected in the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, which reveal that the number of young people not engaged in education, employment or training from April to June 2017 is still shockingly high at 790,000.
As such, a new school-to-work syllabus to improve employability, leadership and management skills could certainly help young people transition from student to employee after graduation. Higher and degreed apprenticeships are an excellent option, although awareness of such positions is still remarkably low.
That said, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, employers are scaling up their apprenticeship programmes, and in 2017, 83% of student employers had apprenticeship programmes with 12,281 apprentices between them. This is an increase of 4,581 apprentices compared to 2016.
Top Graduate Schemes
There are plenty of graduate schemes offered across a wide range of career paths, affording students with lots of options when it comes to choosing an employer.
According to Rob Farace, senior programme lead, resourcing for the NHS Leadership Academy, one of the hardest things about applying for a graduate scheme is standing out from the thousands of other applicants all vying for a spot.
That said, there are many positions available in all fields, with some of the most prolific companies being:
Marketing, Media, Mobile and Hospitality – BBC, Virgin Media, Sky
Finance – Barclays, HSBC, and the Lloyds Banking Group
Retail – Boots, Next, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis
IT and Telecommunications – Google, Microsoft, BT and EE
How To Apply For A Graduate Scheme
In most cases students can apply from the second year, from June onwards. Graduate scheme deadlines are usually set for the November or December of each year. That said, it is always best to apply as early as possible as many of these organisations close applications as soon as they are full.
To gain a place on a graduate scheme, you will need to make it through an extensive and lengthy screening process, followed by interviews, psychometric tests and more. Victoria Humphries, head of emerging talent at Nationwide Building Society, advises preparing for psychometric tests so that you identify your strengths and weaknesses before the time.
Social Media Savvy
Be aware of your social media platforms as 70% of employers use social media to screen job candidates before hiring, according to a CareerBuilder study. This is up from 60% in 2016 and 11% in 2006. It is a good idea to consider your ‘personal brand’ and how it may influence your career and employment prospects.
Also, a good tip is to check social media as many employers take to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to share helpful and informal advice with candidates about all stages of the selection process.