IS YOUR degree really worth it? Doctors and dentists have the best job and pay prospects within a year of graduating - but humanities students will peak at £22,800 after a decade

  • The highest and lowest paying jobs around the UK were ranked from top to worst
  • Doctors earn average £36,600 year after graduating and £53,300 ten years later
  • Liberal arts professionals earn only £22,800 ten years after graduation 
  • Economists and engineers among the best paid professionals in the country

The average student in England with graduate with debt of £50,000, so naturally graduates will be eager to get value for money from their degrees. 

Now a study has ranked which degrees offer the best salary and employment prospects in the 10 years after graduating, and those that may leave students struggling.  

Loan provider Satsuma Loans used UK Government Graduate Outcomes LEO statistics, to rank the most and least lucrative degrees, and those with the best employment prospects.  

They looked at salary evolution a year after graduation and at three, five and ten years, and found that those who study dentistry or medicine earn an average of £36,000 a year after graduation. 

They show the best salary improvement through their career, earning an average of £53,300 ten years after graduating university, compared to the UK average of £29,009.   

Is your job amongst the best-paid ones in the UK? Study reveals professionals working in medicine and dentistry earn £53,300 a year after ten years on the job (stock image)

Is your job amongst the best-paid ones in the UK? Study reveals professionals working in medicine and dentistry earn £53,300 a year after ten years on the job (stock image)

Those who study economics and engineering are also among the best paid professionals, with starting salaries at £26,000 and £26,500 respectively.

In the long run however, those who studied economics outrank engineering graduates, with a salary of £49,800 ten years after graduation against £41,200 for engineers.  

People who studied mathematical science will earn an average of £40,400 after ten years on the job, while those who studied pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy are set to earn £31,600. 

Highest paying degrees in the UK
Degree  One Year Three Years Five Years Ten Years  
Medicine and Dentistry £36,600 £43,000 £47,100 £53,300  
Economics  £26,000 £32,000 £40,200 £49,800  
Engineering  £26,500 £30,800 £34,300 £41,200  
Mathematical Sciences £24,000 £28,300 £33,900 £40,400  
Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy £24,200 £29,700 £33,700 £31,600  
Source: Satsuma loans     
Worst paying degrees in the UK 
Degree One Year Three Years Five Years Ten Years 
Health and Social Care £20,100 £21,700 £22,700 £27,100 
Psychology £17,100 £20,700 £23,200 £26,600 
Media Studies £16,500 £20,300 £23,200 £26,600 
Sociology and Social Policy £17,100 £21,000 £23,200 £26,400 
Agriculture and related subjects £17,300 £19,500 £21,700 £25,100 
Creative Arts and Design£14,900 £18,500 £20,500 £23,300 
Humanities and Liberal Arts                       £17,800 £19,100 £21,800 £22,800 
Source: Satsuma Loans    

Professionals working in humanities and liberal arts, however, earn the lowest income throughout their career, with a starting salary of £17,800 and earning only £5,000 more nine years later (£22,800).

The research also found that people working in creative arts and design start on the worst salary - £14,900 - and earned £23,300 ten years after graduating. 

People working in agriculture and related subjects could get an average starting salary of £17,300. Five years on the job, three years on the job they will still be under the £20,000 mark, earning £19,500 a year. Ten years after graduating, they will make a yearly average of £25,100.  

Degrees with the best employment rates 
Subject Employment rate a year after graduation Employment rate ten years on
Medicine & Dentistry 97.5 percent85 percent
Nursing 95.2 percent89.1 percent
Veterinary Science 93.6 percent85.1 percent
Education and Teaching 91.7 percent85.6 percent
Subjects allied to medicine 91.3 percent84.7 percent
Source: Satsuma Loans   
Degrees with the worst employment rates 
Subject  Employment rate a year after graduationEmployment rate ten years on
Languages, linguistics and classics 79.8 percent75.8 percent
Philosophy and religious studies 82.4 percent80.2 percent
Politics 82.7 percent80.7 percent
Communications and media 83.2 percent84.1 percent
Humanities and liberal arts (non-specific) 83.2 percent71.1 percent
Source: Satsuma Loans   

Sociology and social policy graduates will start on a salary of £17,100 and could expect  

Psychologists and people working in the media earn the same salary of £26,600 a year, at the ten year mark. 

It was also found that health and social care workers usually start on £20,100 and earned £27,100 after ten years.  



People in liberal arts are among the worst-paid professionals in the UK

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