How much does a masters degree increase your salary UK?

Masters Degrees, Employment and Earnings

How much does a masters degree increase your salary UKHow much does a masters degree increase your salary UK

Learning new abilities, expanding one's subject-matter expertise, and advancing one's professional standing are all possible outcomes of postgraduate education. But will it make you more marketable to potential employers?


And would having a master's degree make it easier for you to get a better job? Or make a larger wage for yourself?

On this page, we have examined the facts and figures relating to postgraduate employment and earnings, using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the UK Government to look specifically at the job prospects and salaries of Masters students in the UK. Specifically, we have focused on the job prospects and salaries of people who have earned a Masters degree in the UK.

You may find more information regarding the benefits of postgraduate study in other parts of this site, including guidance on the point of view of employers.


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Will getting a master's degree make me more marketable to employers?

No matter what you intend to do with your life, having a master's degree is an accomplishment of which you should be proud. However, this requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and, of course, financial resources on the part of the vast majority of students.

Therefore, it is likely that you are curious about whether or not obtaining a postgraduate degree would be "worth it."

Some students pursue a Master's degree for no other reason than the passion they have for their field. And this is a cause for postgraduate education that is on par with any other. However, it is quite unlikely that it will be relevant to the majority of those who are perusing a guide to postgraduate employment.

The encouraging news is that studies have shown furthering one's education may be beneficial to one's job. It would seem that graduates with a master's degree have a greater chance of finding employment. Many of them also go on to make more money throughout the course of their careers.

If you are thinking about pursuing a Masters degree, it is evident that this is excellent news since there is a higher overall employment rate for postgraduates. However, this does not always imply that obtaining a master's degree will inevitably increase your employability on its own.

You will need to give some serious consideration to why you want to pursue postgraduate education, and you will also need to ensure that you are able to "sell" the value of your qualification to potential employers.


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Employability statistics for UK postgraduates

The Graduate Outcomes survey, which is issued by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, is considered to be one of the finest sources of employment statistics for postgraduate education in the United Kingdom (HESA).

The most current iteration of this survey followed up with graduates from the 2018–2019 academic year 15 months after they received their degrees in order to inquire about the careers they have since pursued.

Despite the fact that this data is past, it may nevertheless serve as a useful predictor of employability and job possibilities for future postgraduates, such as yourself.

According to the data presented in the table, graduates and postgraduates are equally likely to be working or continuing their education 15 months after leaving an educational institution. However, postgraduates have an 11% greater likelihood of being employed full-time than those with a Bachelor's degree.

Obviously, this does not seem to be a very significant gap between the two. But the primary distinction between graduates and postgraduates in terms of employment is in the nature of the job that they undertake; this is something that we will discuss in just a moment (spoiler: postgraduates are more likely to be in a professional role than their graduate counterparts).


If I get a master's degree, would it help me obtain a better job?

One thing is to be aware of the possibility that obtaining a master's degree may increase your employability. But if you have a master's degree, would the job you receive pay more than the options that were accessible to you when you just had a bachelor's degree? In a nutshell, can earning a master's degree improve your chances of getting a good job?

Once again, the good news is that those with postgraduate degrees often get jobs of increasing responsibility.

According to the findings of the Graduate Outcomes study, those with a postgraduate degree have around an 18 percent greater likelihood of being employed in a professional capacity. These positions are likewise at a higher level of responsibility than those held by those with a first degree.


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Postgraduate employmentHow much does a masters degree increase your salary UKPostgraduate employment

The following table presents a comparison of the proportion of graduates and postgraduates in professional employment after 15 months for the academic year 2018-19 in the United Kingdom. It is common practice to consider professional positions to be ones for which an increased level of education is either required or advantageous. They are an excellent indicator of the employability of graduates.


A taught Master's degree may have quite a noticeable influence on the level of employment you'll be in barely more than a year into your career, as the following table demonstrates:

  • If you hold a postgraduate degree, your odds of working in a "professional occupation" (as opposed to a less senior associate function) will increase by little over 20 percent. This is in comparison to the possibilities of working in a less senior associate capacity. To put it another way, having a Master's degree makes it more probable that you will be employed in a position that requires a higher level of professional ability and responsibility.
  • With a postgraduate degree under your belt, you increase your chances of landing a management position by around 2 percent.
  • If you hold a master's degree, your chances of working in a high-skilled occupation are increased by 20 percent, on average.
  • One last factor to keep in mind is how fulfilled you are in your profession. According to Graduate Outcomes, postgraduates are more likely to believe that the work they are doing now is relevant than graduates are. This difference represents a 4% point increase.


Is there any advantage to getting a master's degree in a different country?

There is a growing trend among students to combine additional postgraduate education with a chance to study in another country. According to the reports, this results in additional advantages.

The Erasmus+ program is widely considered to be among the most significant of these programmes. In order to facilitate travel for the purpose of academic pursuits, the European Commission established this collection of financial assistance programs. There is a paper that discusses the influence that it had on the students' potential careers if they took part.


The research on Erasmus indicates that companies do appreciate foreign experience, despite the fact that it does not differentiate between different levels of study:

  • When hiring new employees, nine out of ten businesses search for transferable abilities, which may be earned by studying in other countries.
  • 72 percent of students who participated in the Erasmus program believe that their experience helped them acquire their first job.
  • It should come as no surprise that learning anything in a foreign country, such as winemaking in France or international law in the Netherlands, may offer significant value.
  • In a broader sense, having relevant language skills, experience living and working in significant international markets, and proof that you are ready to adapt to new circumstances are all advantages that might be of use.


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How much do people who have a Master's degree make?

We've demonstrated that having a Master's degree may help you obtain a better job and increase your employability overall. But would obtaining a postgraduate degree truly result in a greater wage for you?

Again, evidence shows that having a master's degree may have benefits beyond just improving your chances of finding work. According to the findings of certain studies, those with postgraduate education often have a higher income:

According to a survey published in 2020 by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), those with postgraduate degrees earn, on average, 18 percent more money six months after graduating than those with bachelor's degrees.

According to a research published by the OECD in 2021, the difference in earnings potential between someone with a master's degree or a doctorate and someone with just a high school education is 95 percent (compared to 45 percent for a Bachelors graduate)


How much more do people with postgraduate degrees make?

The most current edition of Graduate Outcomes examines the incomes of graduates 15 months after they get their postgraduate degrees, providing data for employees who got a postgraduate degree in 2018-19.

According to the most important data from Graduate Outcomes, 84 percent of taught Masters graduates earn more than £21,000 annually.

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes study is another source of data on Masters graduate incomes. This research focuses at the earnings of postgraduate degree holders in the 2018-19 tax year one, three, five, and 10 years after graduation. The study was conducted by the United Kingdom Government. According to the information provided:

Five years after graduation, those with master's degrees have an annual salary that is, on average, £5,400 higher than those with first degrees.

Three years after graduation, a graduate with a master's degree may expect to earn a median salary of £30,300.


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Salary statistics for Masters grads

The table that follows includes further statistics and specifics on wages with a master's degree (or above). It examines the differences between the percentages of graduates and postgraduates in each of the following wage bands:

Based on these findings, it would suggest that receiving a postgraduate degree may result in a large increase in wages, even after the relatively short amount of time of 15 months.

It is particularly interesting to notice that the biggest group of postgraduates, comprising 23 percent of the total, received salaries in the top wage band (at least £39000).

The results presented here have been verified by the Graduate Labour Market Survey (GLMS) conducted by the government of the United Kingdom. Comparatively, the median wage for a graduate was £35,000 in the working age population (16-64 years old) in the year 2020, while the median salary for a postgraduate was £42,000. The typical annual wage for postgraduates was £31,000 for those aged 21 to 30 years old, while the median annual salary for graduates was £28,000.


Where can I obtain information about the employability of postgraduates and their earnings?

Particularly in the United Kingdom, there has been a rise in the amount of focus placed on the several advantages offered by postgraduate education as this level of education has grown more widespread.

This translates to the fact that information about employment possibilities and incomes with a master's degree is now accessible from a variety of different sources.

The following is a concise reference to some of the primary sources of information on postgraduate employment and wages, including the sources that were utilized to compile the content of this page.


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The agency for statistics about higher education (HESA)

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the UK's biggest and most comprehensive source of information on the results of university study. This contains information on what students go on to do once they graduate, the kind of occupations they end up in, and the amount of money they make.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is a higher education charity that works on a not-for-profit basis. However, the data that it gathers has an official standing and is utilized by a variety of parties, including the government of the United Kingdom.

HESA conducts a poll of recent graduates from UK universities every year as part of its Graduate Outcomes survey. It follows graduates for 15 months after they get their degrees and gathers data on what they have been doing in that time. Learn all you can about the Graduate Outcomes.


The Graduate Employment and Competencies Survey (GLMS)

The Graduate Labour Market Survey is a yearly survey that is prepared by the government of the United Kingdom utilizing data from the more comprehensive Labour Force Survey (LFS). It uses a different approach than the HESA reports that were discussed before, in that it evaluates the current job and wage status of all graduates within a defined age range, rather than focusing just on those who graduated in a certain year.

It is possible to filter the GLMS data by "recent" grads, which are defined as those in the age group of 21-30, as well as the overall working population. This makes it slightly simpler to get a sense of what individuals are doing in the first few years after graduating from college.


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Graduate outcomes (LEO)

Every year, the government of the United Kingdom compiles statistics on graduate outcomes using data collected from tax returns. This is a dataset that has been given the name Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO).

Because it does not depend on graduates responding to a request for a survey, it offers a particularly broad sample of data from which to make conclusions. The data examines graduate incomes from a certain tax year, monitoring the earnings of students at a number of intervals after they graduate with a Master's degree or a Doctor of Philosophy.

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