Which Degrees Do Employers Value the Most? | Top Universities

Which Degrees Do Employers Value the Most?

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Updated Apr 08, 2021



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By Josephine West

Whether you have a career plan in mind or not, knowing your degree will lead to a successful graduate job is vital, especially with the cost of attending university continuing to rise. Whether you picked a degree that was close to your heart or tactically decided to study a subject with strong career prospects and a big salary, the results of the QS Global Employer Survey 2016 are likely to be of interest to you.

The survey of employers around the world found computer science and information systems students to be the most valued, closely followed by business, accountancy and electronic engineering graduates. If you’re not sure what to study at university and need some help making your mind up, choosing one of the degrees below could prove to be useful.

At the other end of the table, classics graduates were deemed to be the least employable, closely followed by theology and philosophy students.

The top five disciplines employers recruit from are:

  1. Computer Science and Information Systems
  2. Business and Management Studies
  3. Accountancy and Finance
  4. Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  5. Economics and Econometrics

The bottom five are:

  1. Classics and Ancient History
  2. Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies
  3. Philosophy
  4. History
  5. Anthropology

However, don’t feel disheartened if you want to study one of these subjects at the foot of the table, as the survey’s results are dependent on the kind of employers responding to the survey, i.e. industry and world region. Employers from universities and research institutes, for example, didn’t respond to the survey, and they are traditionally a significant employer of arts, humanities and social sciences graduates.

Some of these subjects also produce graduates that are highly desired by only one or two sectors. For instance, 29.6% of consultancies surveyed said they would hire anthropology graduates above all other disciplines.

For instance, with the highest percentage, 29.63% of employers within the consultancy sector said they would hire Anthropology graduates above all other disciplines, demonstrating the desirability of these students. Moreover, employers from universities and research institutes did not respond to the survey, so this would account for the lower rankings among the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines.

So, while the results of the QS Global Employer Survey 2016 can help students make informed decisions, those looking to follow their heart shouldn’t be dissuaded from doing so. The right degree, within any discipline, develops opportunity, knowledge and potential.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming White Paper which will examine both the 2017 QS Global Employer and Applicant Surveys, drawing comparisons between student and employer expectations as we look at the conflict between what students hope their degrees will lead to versus and the reality of the current job market.

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