It’s a nerve-wracking week for thousands of students up and down the country, with A Level results being issued on Thursday.
While recent stats from UCAS suggest that as many as a quarter of students have received at least one unconditional offer, removing some of the stress from results day, for the majority it’s a stressful time as they wait to see if they got the grades they need to head off to the university of their choice.
The good news is that even if you had a bit of a mare in your A-Levels and need to put off a trip to University – or ditch those plans entirely – you don’t actually need a degree in order to land a top-paying job.
In fact, new research from jobs site Indeed has picked out ten non-graduate roles that pay more than the UK average wage, in some cases topping an annual salary of £50,000.
Your guide to student money
Bringing home the bacon without a Bachelor’s
According to Indeed, the best-paid job that doesn’t rely on you having spent years at Uni is as an ethical hacker, with an average annual salary of £56,547.
Sometimes referred to as ‘white hats’, ethical hackers look to find the weaknesses in various online systems, but with the intent of helping the firms and organisations improve their defences rather than nicking some cash.
While some people who work as ethical hackers have degrees or technical qualifications, Indeed argued that many pick up the skills they need through experience, making it far less essential for them to have a degree qualification to their name.
"We started our own businesses"
The next job on the list, that of a construction manager, also boasts an average salary north or £50,000 – £53,118 to be exact.
A construction manager basically oversees a construction project from start to finish, ensuring the finances are in order and everybody is working on what they should be.
According to the government’s National Careers Service website, you can get into this role with an HND qualification, or even work your way up over time from more junior construction roles like a surveyor or site manager.
The best-paid jobs that don’t need a degree
Bill Richards, UK managing director at Indeed, said that choosing against going to university does not automatically mean a lower salary, though admitted there is still a ‘graduate premium’ where those with a degree do typically enjoy bigger salaries overall.
He added: "The figures should reassure parents and teenagers at the end of exam season that there are numerous routes into study and employment, and that high salaries are by no means the exclusive domain of those heading off to university in September.”
How much is the ‘graduate premium’ worth?
According to figures from the Department for Education , graduates earned on average £10,000 more than non-graduates in 2017.
While this is unquestionably a significant amount, it’s actually virtually unchanged from a decade ago, despite the proportion of the workforce made up of graduates rising from 29% in 2007 to 40% last year.
Not all degrees are equal
It’s also worth bearing in mind that not all degrees are equal – some will deliver a much bigger boost to your eventual salary than others, while the university you attend will also play a big part too.
For example, figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies last year found that graduates with degrees in medicine or dentistry enjoy average salaries of £46,700, while those that studied economics enjoy typical salaries of £40,000.
However if you instead studied the likes of art and drama (£20,100) or agriculture (£22,000) you’re going to be earning significantly less than the national average salary of around £27,000.
Similarly, if you attended one of the Russell Group of universities – 24 universities covering the likes of the University of Bristol, Imperial College London and the University of Southampton – then you are likely to enjoy a salary of an average of £33,500 five years after graduation, around 40% more than those who studied at other institutions.
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