Progressive Recruitment

The 10 degrees getting UK graduates the highest paid jobs

interviewer looking at document in blue folder with man in interview

Life’s too short for regrets so it’s always comforting to know that you made the right call at one of those crucial times in your life.

If you chose to study one of the top earning degrees then you can read on with a certain amount of smugness while your housemate with the History of Art degree now looks back and views those trips to the gallery with slightly less rose-tinted spectacles.

The truth is that making the right call and studying a degree that will quickly translate to higher earnings and more opportunities just makes sense, especially for the roles at the top end of the careers ladder, and it goes without saying that ideally its something you actually enjoy.

So what are the top degrees which lead to best remuneration? Job search engine Adzuna has scrolled through the thousands of openings on its recruitment database to come up with the best average options on offer for graduates of every degree.

10 Mathematics

Average salary: £39,000

Relevant jobs: Finance, technology, banker, statistician, accountant

The UK has been short of maths graduates for some years so anyone coming out of university with a good degree is going to be a sought-after commodity. Finance and banking are obvious long-term high payers, and IT recruiters are clearly going to look to mathematicians for their analytic and development skills.

9 Mechanical Engineering

Average salary: £39,106

Relevant jobs: Automotive, aerospace, defence, construction engineers

As with maths, engineering graduates are in short supply, even though the Government has worked hard in recent years to boost numbers in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. There are jobs in everything from Formula One development to sustainable energy projects so there really is an engineering job to suit every graduate.

8 Science

Average salary: £40,409

Relevant jobs: Pharmaceuticals, finance, biotechnology

Forget the image of muddle-headed assistants in dusty labs – science is sexy. Pharma is the future and recruiters have plenty of positions with the big companies and biotech specialists.

7 Architecture

Average salary: £40,788

Relevant jobs: Architect, interior designer

As with medicine, architecture degrees involve extended work placements; you’ve effectively started your career whilst completing your seven-year degree course. Consequently, graduate level jobs pay better than many other careers, especially in London and the South East, where the building boom shows no sign of slowing down.

6 Finance

Average salary: £40,908

Relevant jobs: Banker, financial analyst

The financial sector has always paid well and as the global economy recovers (the odd hiccup aside) banking and investment institutions are in the mood to once again hire and remunerate well.

5 Economics

Average salary: £41,144

Relevant jobs: Financial analyst, banker, economist, statistician

Economics and finance are often interchangeable in recruitment terms. Economists will have an advantage working in statistics and with economic think tanks and official/Government advisory bodies.

4 Computer science

Average salary: £41,950

Relevant jobs: Developer, IT consultant, systems administrator

The technology sector impacts on every modern business and it’s not going to stop. A good computer science degree will make you a target for IT recruiters wherever you go. Coding, website building, project overseeing, firefighting – the strands are many and so are the jobs.

3 Accounting

Average salary: £42,404

Relevant jobs: Accountant, actuary

Everyone needs accountants, and a job with one of the ‘Big Four’ – EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC – is secure, well-paid and could take you all over the world: British and British-trained accountants have a high global reputation.

2 Engineering

Average salary: £42,837

Relevant jobs: Chemical, aerospace, construction, automotive and defence engineers, management consultant

Again, demand exceeds supply when it comes to engineering graduates. This broader degree than mechanical engineering is favoured by many employers and salaries reflect that adaptability potential.

1 Civil Engineering

Average salary: £44,851

Relevant jobs: Civil engineer, surveyor, structural engineer, environmental consultant

People who think big are paid well and engineering recruiters are especially busy with projects like Crossrail and HS2 in full flow. If you build bridges, dams, rail systems, high-rise buildings, you have to get it right and you’re entitled to reap the rewards.

Video job interviews- tips and tools for employers

29 Apr 2020

We’ve summarised how to prepare and conduct virtual job interviews, evaluated their effectiveness over telephone interviews and listed what interview tools are currently out there.


Soft skills that are in demand with new ways of working

24 Apr 2020

As we adjust to working remotely and new ways of working, there are certain soft skills which are suddenly seeing a large spike in demand.

Webinar - Artificial intelligence: the promise of a new era

08 Jun 2020

Is artificial intelligence the revolution of the 21st century? During this webinar organised by SThree (parent company of Progressive) discover the radiant future made possible by AI.

Person working on a laptop

Contractor challenges and opportunities

12 Jun 2020

During the pandemic, there are certain challenges facing contract workers, and also ways they can navigate through to make the best of the situation career wise.