Engineering Degrees are the Most Valuable in the UK

by Anita Caldwell

Graduates who left university this summer with degrees in Engineering may well qualify for the largest pay packets when starting work, according to new research by job search engine Adzuna.

The study, conducted in September 2017, analysed CVs belonging to recent graduates using Adzuna’s ValueMyCV algorithm, to reveal which degrees are the most valuable immediately after leaving university.*

Students bearing Computer Engineering degrees are destined to in the money and can expect to earn as much as £33,555 when starting out, making this subject the most lucrative degree in the UK. This is followed by Electrical Engineering (£32,781), Finance (£32,159) and Chemical Engineering (£31,880) qualifications, which are also top earners for new graduates.

Forming a clear trend, engineering-related courses dominate the top 10 list of highest paying degrees, with Software Engineering (£30,839), General Engineering (£30,557), Civil Engineering (£30,047) and Mechanical Engineering (£29,958) all also featuring on the list.

Computer Science (£31,698) and Information Technology (£31,162) degrees round off the top-10 UK’s most valuable degrees.

Table 1: Top 10 Most Valuable Degrees in UK

Degree           Average annual earning potential after graduation

Computer Engineering - £33,555

Electrical Engineering - £32,781

Finance - £32,159

Chemical Engineering - £31,880

Computer Science - £31,698

Information Technology - £31,162

Software Engineering - £30,839

General Engineering - £30,557

Civil Engineering - £30,047

Mechanical Engineering - £29,958

Finance tops chart for men while female Computer Scientists sought after

Interestingly, the most valuable degrees differed for men and women, although STEM subjects remain a solid bet for both sexes.

Male graduates bearing a degree in Finance can expect to earn £34,339 per annum when starting work, the highest value of any course, followed by those graduating with an Architecture qualification, at £34,025.

However, Computer Science is the most valuable degree for female career starters, with graduates able to earn £33,175. And while engineering degrees are proving popular with the boys, many women are instead opting for alternative courses such as Education (£24,942), History (£24,771) and Marketing (£23,102) which have a lower immediate value in terms of graduate salary potential.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments:

“The UK has grown into a glittering hub for technology, home to the most tech ‘unicorns’ in the EU and boosted by a booming digital economy.** This tech success story demands the very best talent, and new graduates are a crucial source. That’s why graduates who study Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, and Computer Science can command such a premium when starting work. They have finally pushed Finance grads off the earnings top spot.’

“Brexit may mean it becomes harder to import foreign talent to serve skill shortage industries like Tech and Engineering. As such, the values of STEM degrees are likely to increase. School leavers selecting a course to study at university should bear this in mind. Having a Tech or Engineering degree on your CV is a sure-fire way to tap into significant earnings. And encouraging more women to choose STEM subjects would help plug the skills gap and even out the graduate pay divide.”

Table 2: Value of a degree for MALE grads

Degree            Average annual earning potential after graduation

Finance - £34,339

Architecture - £34,025

Software Engineering - £33,757

Computer Engineering - £33,393

Electrical Engineering - £32,934

Economics - £32,410

General Engineering - £32,254

Management - £31,970

Civil Engineering - £31,861

Mechanical Engineering - £31,241

Table 3: Value of a degree for FEMALE grads

Degree            Average annual earning potential after graduation

Computer Science - £33,175

Management - £27,989

Economics - £26,180

Education - £24,942

History - £24,771

Business Administration - £24,413

Law - £24,246

English Literature - £23,428

Business Management - £23,237

Marketing - £23,102

* The value of every degree subject ranked in this study is based on a sample size of at least 50 CVs.

Source: Adzuna via Chris McColgan,


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