Top 10 degrees that equal bigger pay

23 Aug 2022

Which subjects result in better salaries for early-career grads? A recent study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has ranked the top degree subjects that bolster earnings for the majority of workers in their late 20s. The report on education inequalities by the Institute of Fiscal Studies reveals that degrees in medicine, economics and mathematics have the biggest effect on earnings when grads hit the age of 29.

Gender differences
The impact of the chosen degree course on earnings were not the same for male and female graduates, the findings showed. A degree in medicine boosted women’s earnings by close to 80% and in economics by 65%. Other degrees in the top 10 ranking boosted their earnings by between 35% and 45%. In contrast, for men, an economics degree increased pay by some 40%, and a medicine and architecture degree by more than 20%. “Most strikingly, on average women benefit financially from attending university irrespective of the course they study,” said Christine Farquharson, Sandra McNally and Imran Tahir, who compiled the Institute of Fiscal Studies report. “For men, the returns in some subjects, including creative arts and agriculture, are effectively zero or even negative,” they added.

Top 10 degrees for larger pay for women:
1.    Medicine
2.    Economics
3.    Maths
4.    Business
5.    Law
6.    Computing
7.    Engineering
8.    Pharmacology
9.    Physics
10.  Nursing

Top 10 degrees for larger pay for men:
1.    Economics
2.    Medicine
3.    Architecture
4.    Business
5.    Law
6.    Computing
7.    Engineering
8.    Education
9.    Maths
10.  Physics

The report was based on data utilised during a study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies back in 2018, estimating the labour market returns to various degrees at 29. “The grades that graduates earn can be an important part of their future outcomes in the labour market as well. Achieving higher grades has a much larger payoff at more selective institutions—suggesting that some of the highest-paying employers value both which university a graduate attended and how well they did there,” the report stated.