Getting a First or 2:1 worth £300,000 over working life


Recent research by job search engine Adzuna shows that a First or 2:1 degree result can be worth up to £300,000 in earnings over a graduate’s working life.

Their analysis suggests that graduates with a 2:1 or above can expect to earn on average almost £8000 per annum more than those with a 2:2 or Third class degree, a potential accumulated difference of up to £300,000 over their working lives.

The results reveal the huge importance that employers set by degree levels. Many screen graduate CVs by degree results, meaning that those with a degree result lower than a 2:1 are at a constant disadvantage.

Graduates with a First have average annual earnings of £38,753, whilst those with a Third earn almost £10,000 less.

The research also shows that degree subject also has a significant impact on future earnings. Civil Engineering graduates can expect to earn over twice more than Art and Design or Hospitality and Tourism graduates.

Other graduates with low average earnings are those with degrees in Anthropology, Sociology and Media Studies, whilst Economics, Law, Maths and Computer science students can expect to earn on average over £40,000 per year.

Some of the highest average earners are those who bypassed university altogether. Offshore Oil Platform Workers, who do not need to have a degree, earn on average £76,155 a year.

Nuclear Energy Workers and Police Sergeants also earn around £40,000 per year, a salary comparable with the highest graduate earnings.

The co-founder of Adzuna, Doug Monro, said the results showed that “young people need to be smart about their choices to maximise their employment prospects.”

Adzuna compiled their results using a complex index of employer demand for degree subjects and grades.

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