Mark Allen, careers consultant at Imperial College London, provides a rundown of the destinations, types of work and salaries of graduates from technology, engineering and maths subjects
The skills gap in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is a longstanding issue, with an estimated shortfall of 173,000 workers in the STEM sector.1 Alongside more applied technical roles, the government’s recruitment targets for secondary school teachers have been persistently missed, particularly in shortage subjects like maths and science.2 A glance at the list of UK shortage occupations reveals how highly sought after these graduates are.
Download the full report
What do graduates do? 2023
The 2019/20 Graduate Outcomes data shows that graduates from technology and engineering disciplines have higher full-time employment rates than the all-graduate average (57.3%). Within the technology and engineering group, civil engineering graduates continue to have the highest full-time employment rate (72.1%), followed by electrical and electronic engineering (68.5%), chemical engineering (67.8%), architecture and building (67.2%), mechanical engineering (66.1%) and IT (64.1%).
The full-time employment rate for maths graduates is slightly below the others (56.0%). However, this can be explained by the significant number who pursued further study (14.1%) or were both working and studying (10.9%). Graduates from all technology, engineering and maths disciplines were more likely to enter graduate-level jobs than the all-graduate average (74.0%). The civil engineering rate was the highest (91.4%), followed by architecture and building (89.2%) and chemical engineering (88.3%).
More than two-thirds of IT professionals (67.7%) were in roles related to their degree, which may not be surprising with more technology vacancies being advertised over the last year than in any other sector.
Types of work
The data shows engineering graduates typically find roles relevant to their degree with, at the higher end 78.1% of civil engineering graduates, and at the lower 40.8% of chemical engineering graduates, working as engineering professionals. Chemical engineering also had a notable proportion going into business, HR and finance (19.5%), perhaps related to fewer opportunities in some more traditional chemical engineering routes, such as oil and gas.3 Maths graduates were spread into more sectors, such as teaching, finance, management consultants and business analysts, and programmers and software development professionals, which shows the broad demand for their skillset. More than two-thirds of IT professionals (67.7%) were in roles related to their degree, which may not be surprising with more technology vacancies being advertised over the last year than in any other sector, showing the high demand for these skills.4
The salary range for technology, engineering and maths graduates varies depending on the subject studied. When graduates had not pursued significant study since graduation, IT had a salary range that spanned from £21,509 to £34,840. Highest of the engineering graduates were chemical engineering at £29,944, with mechanical engineering the lowest at £27,685, but still comparing favourably to the all-subject average (£24,974). Architecture and building graduates had the lowest salary range from £21,451 to £27,677. It's worth noting that pursuing significant study had only a negligible effect on salary.
For civil engineering, architecture and building, electrical and electronic engineering the rates going into further study were generally low compared to the average for all graduates (9.2%), perhaps due to the vocational nature of these degrees and the demand for graduates from these disciplines. The rate of chemical engineering graduates pursuing further education was slightly higher than average (9.8%). The level of maths graduates pursuing further study was much higher (14.1%). Of these, it is no surprise to see a greater proportion studying a postgraduate diploma or certificate (including PGCE/ PGDE), given that one top job for maths graduates is secondary education teaching professional.
Activity,Percentage of maths graduates Full-time employment,56 Working and studying,10.9 Further study,14.1
- Addressing the STEM skills shortage challenge, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2021.
- Teacher Shortages in England - Analysis and Pay Options, The Education Policy Institute, 2020.
- Business Outlook 2021, The UK Oil & Gas Industry Association Limited, 2021.
- People and skills report 2022, Tech Nation, 2022.
Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback