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What do Masters graduates do? - Business studies

May 2018

The full-time employment rate for business studies Masters graduates was above the average for all subjects, with relatively few going on to further study

The most popular Masters subject, accounting for 17% of the total cohort in 2016, was business studies. It was also the only discipline where part-time study was the most popular mode of learning (53.7%).

Those who studied full time tended to be younger, with 78% of graduates aged between 21 and 29 years old. Those who opted to study part time were typically older, with 83% aged 30 and above.

Subject overview

  • 7, 140 graduates
  • 17% of total Masters cohort
  • 46.3% studied full time
  • 53.7% studied part time


For part-time graduates the outcomes were positive, with a higher than average number in full-time work six months after graduation. Graduates who studied full time also experienced a higher than average full-time employment rate.

There was a significant contrast between the unemployment rates for both groups. Those who studied full time experienced a higher than average unemployment rate, while the figure for graduates who studied part time was considerably lower, and in line with their overall average.

A small proportion went on to further study, with below average figures for both groups.

Outcomes,Business studies FT,Business studies PT
Full time work,69.78503798,86.9561487
Part time work,7.388317253,4.483659552
Working and studying,3.025890383,2.836883358
Further study,4.131812583,1.102371358


Graduates who studied full time tended to gravitate towards roles in other business and finance industries. This is unsurprising considering a large number were occupied in business and finance roles.

The outcomes for graduates who studied part time were more varied, with large proportions working in:

  • business and finance
  • education
  • health
  • local and central government
  • manufacturing.

Employer size appeared to be an important factor, with 61% of business studies Masters graduates working for a company with more than a thousand employees.

Industries,Business studies FT,Business studies PT
Construction · engineering · research and development,6.056923492,5.692534236
Hospitality and tourism,4.741075776,1.924017081
Media and publishing,1.864721197,1.374171698
IT and telecoms,7.901524693,7.18097482
Legal and accountancy,7.126100061,3.175673686
Management consultancy,4.30527667,2.291856869
Other business and finance,25.39666571,15.02488588
Marketing and PR,5.512476409,1.025769401
Social care,2.045801158,3.322927404
Local and central govt,2.763682603,10.92563687
Arts · sports and leisure,2.368123488,1.698718893
Other industries,1.34401571,1.60477102


Employment outcomes for business studies Masters graduates were strong, with 91.7% in a professional-level job six months after graduation. Only 4% of those who studied part-time were in non-professional employment.

Business and finance occupations were popular among full-time graduates, where they often worked as finance, investment and business analysts and advisers or as human resources and industrial relations officers.

A number of graduates who studied full time were also employed in marketing and sales occupations, either as marketing associate professionals, sales accounts and business development managers, or business sales executives.

Managerial roles were largely filled by those who studied part time. These graduates worked in human resources, health services and finance departments. Graduates who study part time often pursue courses with a strong continuing professional development (CPD) element, enabling them to advance into more senior positions.

Types of work,Business studies FT,Business studies PT
Education ,2.050055591,3.835212678
Social and welfare,1.572935747,1.506900388
Business and finance,40.29723007,25.2162885
Marketing and sales,18.26493149,8.219696858
Arts and media,1.523744011,0.655544237
Other professionals,2.430791627,4.725907355
Health and education occupations,0.679885779,0.39162383
Clerical and secretarial,6.968429304,2.123399671
Retail and service ,3.732572928,0.469713739
Other occupations,3.505811024,0.792641934
Unknown occupations,0.119979843,0.117428435


A lot of opportunities for business studies Masters graduates are centred around London, with a high proportion of graduates who studied both full and part time working there. Those who studied part time were less concentrated in the capital than their full-time counterparts, with a greater number securing employment in the provinces.

Only London and the East of England employed more graduates than studied in these locations.

Outside London, the most popular cities for graduate employment were:

  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh
  • Birmingham
  • Belfast
  • Leeds.

Options for these graduates tended to be concentrated in larger cities with the most diverse labour market options, particularly in business services.

Location,Business studies FT,Business studies PT
North East,1.617832472,2.628585346
North West,8.86808851,9.093123205
Yorkshire and The Humber,3.657974302,7.024411687
East Midlands,3.848931578,5.10836603
West Midlands,6.280372612,5.841102758
East of England,3.672255295,6.721753103
South East,9.421374974,12.16129118
South West,4.141487916,6.340979497
Northern Ireland,3.278099894,2.030396545
Guernsey · Jersey and the Isle of Man,0.12240851,0.148507647

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