What Do Masters Students Do After Graduation?

The vast majority of postgraduate students have a clear direction of where they are heading with their careers and are using the qualification as a stepping stone to get to that point. What is not so clear however, is how many masters graduates end up in their preferred job vocations , and how many do not even find employment at all. The figures shown below are taken from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey completed by HESA , and they offer an interesting insight in to the world of postgraduates once they leave university.

masters degree

Photo Credit: Will Folsom via Compfight cc

Who are we Talking About?

First things first, let’s identify numbers and breakdowns for these figures so that they can be looked at in a relative way. Of the 41,725 graduates leaving university with a masters qualification, 52.7% of these were enrolled in full-time courses, with the rest being part of part-time vocational courses. And out of all of these graduates, 70.5% returned their surveys to HESA, meaning that the results are from a group of almost 30,000 masters graduates. More than half (50.9%) were over 30 years old at the time of graduation, and the surveys were completed six months after graduation.

The most popular masters courses by graduation figures were business studies (10.5%), management studies (5.4%), academic studies in education (5%), law (3.8%), and psychology (3.7%). The three most popular subjects comprised of a large number of mature and part-time students.

First Destinations

Six months after graduating from their postgraduate studies, 69.3% of students were in full-time employment in the UK, and a further 9.5% were combining further study with employment. This meant that six months after graduation, almost four out of every five graduates were involved in employment in the UK. 7.5% of graduates went straight into another education course or industry specific training, and 3% had moved overseas to study or work. 3.3% of graduates listed that they were unavailable for work or study, and a large percentage of these people were taking time out to travel. The remaining 7.4% of those graduating from a postgraduate course were either unemployed, or classified as other, with just 4.2% being listed as unemployed.

What Type of Job?

More than one fifth (22%) of postgraduates were employed as commercial, industrial and public sector managers, highlighting the career advancement of postgraduate qualifications . It might be expected that many graduates of management or business degrees may end up in these positions, but figures showed that many graduates with other qualifications also entered management roles. 12.5% were working as education professionals, and 11.9% as other professionals, including technical occupations, 9% in business and finance, and 7.1% as health professionals. 5.2% went into arts, culture, media, and sports professions, and 4.3% into IT. The total figure given for graduates entering into jobs at an entry level considered to be below a postgraduate level is 13.2%, with figures for this being much higher in arts and humanities.

That's some pretty impressive results we'd say!

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