in-demand degrees
Professions that are friendly to remote-working arrangements may see a rising demand during the pandemic, including computer science jobs. Source: Ina Fassbender/AFP

New research from shows how engineering tops the list of in-demand degrees in the UK, followed by business and management. This result was achieved by analysing over one million job advertisements on the recruitment site Check-a-Salary in 2020, gleaning hiring trends and the in-demand degrees needed for them.

The findings signify that engineering graduates are highly valued in the UK job market right now, with over 76,000 job adverts seeking qualified employees. Almost 40,000 adverts requested a degree in business, while over 32,500 required a management qualification. Other in-demand degrees include design with more than 17,800 adverts, followed closely by marketing with 16,800 adverts.

Which sectors are booming?

Although employers are actively looking for graduates to fill these positions, the numbers show that the demand for most jobs took a dip since 2019. This is linked to the pandemic’s impact on the job market and economic conditions. At the same time, certain in-demand degrees have continued to show growth potential; chief of them are computer information systems and computer systems engineering, for which demand spiked well over 2,000% in a year.

in-demand degrees

Sophie McIlveen (L), a Medical Visualisation Engineer at Axial 3D shows a 3D print out of a baby’s heart to Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) during a visit to the company’s offices in Belfast. Source: Peter Morrison/Pool/AFP

The demand for systems engineering, data science, and information systems professionals all increased, too. What does this show? Well, for one, IT and data expertise is becoming more important in the UK. “Studying a STEM subject is likely to lead to higher levels of pay throughout a career,” Danny Aldridge, co-founder of Check-a-Salary added.

On the flip side, certain degrees have seen a decrease in demand including dietetics, aerospace systems, and hospitality business management. The decline can once again be attributed to the pandemic, which has slowed down the aerospace and tourism sectors.

Which in-demand degrees pay the best? also looked at the salary ranges for these in-demand degrees, coming up with a median and maximum annual salary for each. From the results, we see that business degree holders have the highest potential to earn high salaries of up to 300,000 pounds. Engineering and marketing graduates earn a maximum of 200,000 pounds. Computer science and computer engineering degree holders can expect salaries in the same ballpark.

From the list of high-earning, in-demand degrees, it is evident that STEM graduates hold the most earning power. Though business, management, and marketing degrees are still widely required, they had the lowest median salary offerings in the top 10. While you should not let these findings deter you from pursuing new or emerging degrees — we know the future of work is unpredictable — undergraduate students would do well to take market demands into consideration when choosing their academic pathway.