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What do business and administrative studies graduates do?

December 2020

The latest edition of What do graduates do? finds that a higher proportion of business and administrative studies graduates than average were employed full time 15 months after graduation, compared with their peers in other subject areas - and they also earned higher than average salaries


  • Economics
  • Finance and accountancy
  • Business and management
  • Hospitality, leisure, tourism, and hospitality
  • Marketing

This year's Graduate Outcomes data shows that of all UK-domiciled first-degree graduates surveyed, 59.8% were in full-time employment 15 months after graduating and 7.9% were in full-time further study. For business and administrative studies these figures were 66.4% and 4.1% respectively.


Below is a breakdown of the 2017/18 data for business and administrative studies, which includes the following subjects:

  • business and management studies (11,315 respondents)
  • economicsĀ  (3,940 respondents)
  • finance and accountancy (4,520 respondents)
  • hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport (2,365 respondents)
  • marketing (2,275 respondents).

All business and administrative studies subjects showed higher numbers of graduates in full-time employment than the average across all subjects with a range from 61.8% for finance and accountancy to 73.4% for marketing.

High numbers of graduates from business and management studies (21%), hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport (26.2%) and marketing (56.3%) went in to jobs in marketing, PR and sales compared with 7% from all subjects.

Among finance and accountancy, business and management studies, and economics graduates, 54.9%, 22.6% and 58.2% respectively entered business, HR and finance professions. This is significantly higher than the figure of 8.8% for all graduates as might be expected.

Undertaking a business and administrative studies degree subject allows students to develop an understanding of business organisations and the markets and frameworks they operate within. Students acquire knowledge concerning customers, operations, communication, policy and strategy and how all of these are connected.

Graduates will develop the following skills and attributes through their studies, making them highly employable:

  • communication, project management, leadership and interpersonal skills
  • effective listening, negotiating and influencing skills
  • self-awareness, self-management and a sensitivity to the diversity of people, cultures, business and management issues
  • research and analytical skills with the ability to create, evaluate and assess options and apply ideas to a range of situations
  • organisational and time management skills.

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What do graduates do? 2020/21

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The average salaries for graduates from hospitality, leisure, tourism and transport with no significant further study since graduating are the lowest. This may be explained in part by the make-up of this sector. Research by Economic Insight for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2019 found that 'most hospitality and tourism establishments are small or medium- sized businesses, with around 9 in every 10 (90%) hospitality and tourism establishments employing less than 25 people'.1 The report goes on to state that hospitality and tourism wages are below the UK average.

Graduates from business and management studies, economics and finance and accountancy all earned above the average for all subjects.


Total unemployment for business and administrative studies graduates was 5.5% against 5.1% for all subjects. This includes those who were unemployed and due to start work/further study. This ranges from 4.9% for economics to 5.8% for finance and accountancy.

Further study

In total, 22,780 (8.8%) graduates were undertaking full or part-time further study.

For graduates from business and administrative studies subjects this figure ranges from 2.6% for marketing to 7.5% for economics. Of those in further study from all subjects, 46.8% were undertaking a Masters programme while for business and administrative studies subjects the figure for those undertaking a Masters ranges from 23% for finance and accountancy to 56% for marketing.

It is worth noting that 66.5% of finance and accountancy graduates and 38.2% of economics graduates were studying for a professional qualification against 14.9% of all graduates. This is reflective of the need for professional qualifications in the finance sector through chartered institutions such as CIMA and ICAEW.

The continued growth of automation is changing the job landscape resulting in a growing demand for jobs such as digital marketing and strategy specialists, and business development professionals.2

LinkedIn Learning reports that the need for business analysis skills has made the most significant jump on its list of hard skills that companies need most, from 16th to 6th.3 By developing the skills identified above, business and administrative studies graduates will be well placed to respond to this changing landscape.

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What do business and administrative studies graduates do?

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Also in this series


  1. The Business Response to Covid-19: the CEP-CBI Survey on Technology Adoption, CEP and CBI, September 2020.
  2. UK Economic Update, PwC, September 2020.

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