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What do Masters graduates do? - Medical

May 2018

The unemployment rate among medical Masters graduates is unsurprisingly low, given society’s need for significant numbers of additional health professionals

A little over 12% of the total cohort, or 5,230 students, studied a Masters in a medical field in 2016. More than half (54%) studied part time, compared with 46% who studied full time. The subject has the second largest proportion of part-time students across all subject groups considered in this report.

Subject overview

  • 5,230 graduates
  • 12% of total Masters cohort
  • 46% studied full time
  • 54% studied part time


Medical Masters graduates had very low unemployment rates, reflecting the labour market's desperate need for health professionals.

For full-time graduates, those who studied a Medical masters had strong outcomes. They were more likely to be in full-time employment or further study and less likely to be unemployed or working part time.

For part-time medical graduates, other than their low employment rate, the main finding was that their likelihood of being in part-time work was higher than average. In particular, they were more likely to be in part-time work than their full-time counterparts. This is true of only a small number of subject groups.

Outcomes,Medical FT,Medical PT
Full time work,63.26351966,73.70257599
Part time work,9.25871656,14.39641449
Working and studying,2.25768515,4.637499355
Further study,16.51855207,2.552569838


Unsurprisingly, the health industry dominates this graph. However, there are some graduates employed as HE teaching professionals and university researchers who enter the education industry.

The small numbers of graduates who are employed outside of health and education are usually therapy professionals, biochemists and medical scientists, laboratory technicians or they have branched out into business roles.

Industries,Medical FT,Medical PT
Construction · engineering · research and development,6.350556852,1.599359057
Hospitality & tourism,1.299151221,0.2570628
Media and publishing,0.611365281,0.056982254
IT and telecoms,1.095362794,0.314045055
Legal and accountancy,0.433050407,0.214219
Management consultancy,0.526283612,0.1285314
Other business and finance,2.224350679,0.464426793
Marketing & PR,0.840627261,0.0856876
Social care,3.761424889,3.041909805
Local and central govt,3.5235019,3.992185291
Arts · sports and leisure,1.636930539,0.719775841
Other industries,0.815153707,0.814032201


The outcomes for these graduates are exactly what would be expected. The most popular occupations were, by far, nurses and medical practitioners, with a large number of physiotherapists too.

However, more specialist roles also appeared, such as:

  • speech and language therapists
  • therapy professionals
  • medical radiographers.
Types of work,Medical FT,Medical PT
Education ,2.621105241,5.996421325
Social and welfare,5.214218096,3.810689794
Business and finance,5.708919901,2.504216501
Marketing and sales,1.908571778,0.206758388
Arts and media,0.916114453,0.214035598
Other professionals,8.702578353,4.615463644
Health and education occupations,2.976863021,0.606576886
Clerical and secretarial,1.933510449,0.428071197
Retail and service ,2.383424436,0.128421359
Other occupations,1.628647917,0.356583307
Unknown occupations,0,0.04280712

The NHS is the largest employer of graduates in the UK, employing roughly 1.5 million people.1 Consequently, those who do graduate with a medical Masters are extremely likely to work for a large company.


This subject area is unique in that it is the only subject group where London taught a greater proportion of working graduates than it employed. Medical graduates are also slightly less mobile than normal Masters graduates, possibly since health professionals are needed everywhere and have no need to relocate.

Medical Masters are well represented throughout the country, but specialists were primarily located in London. This is contrary to medical undergraduates, where the most popular region was dependent on job title and was often not the capital.

There remains a degree of regional specialisation, however. Although London was their most popular location, speech and language therapists also favoured the South East, while medical radiographers the South West (and  the North West to a lesser extent), and occupational therapists preferred the South East, East of England and Yorkshire and the Humber.

It was often the case that the areas employing large numbers of specialists also taught large numbers of specialists. Whether this is a case of local hospitals hiring the graduates they have access to, or universities mirroring regional labour market demand, is hard to say. 

Either way, speech and language therapists proved an exception. The South East hired five times as many working graduates as it taught and was comfortably the second biggest employment region.

Locations,Medical FT,Medical PT
North East,5.769270931,4.596432125
North West,10.09230833,14.12662117
Yorkshire and The Humber,5.786500428,8.373335195
East Midlands,5.847586826,5.658590654
West Midlands,5.002819372,8.662221369
East of England,8.989620533,6.516521496
South East,12.52688846,11.52053623
South West,4.53187979,5.482291539
Northern Ireland,1.488002005,1.985546964
Guernsey · Jersey and the Isle of Man,0.182737088,0.218191974

Also in this series


1. How many NHS employees are there?, Full Fact, 2017.

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