Your ambitions

Looking beyond the current economic downturn, having a degree will help you to find a job, earn more, and do more in your career. There is compelling evidence that employers increasingly demand more skilled workers. Terence Perrin, Chairman of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), comments on the value of a university degree:

“There is no doubt that a university degree still has a very high currency with employers and a profound effect on a person’s earning potential over a lifetime. Our membership of over 800 organisations involved in graduate recruitment still attaches great value to a university education and has remained committed to recruiting graduate talent through the recession. A degree remains an extremely worthwhile investment.”

(The cost of higher education vs the value of a degree, Terence Perrin, AGR Press Release, 19 August 2009. www.agr.org.uk)

An English degree lets you choose from many different employments sectors and occupations. Many English graduates follow careers in management or administration, either for a company or for the government.

Just the Numbers... for 2009 English graduates

Six months after graduation:
  • 49.9% were working
  • 21.5% were pursuing further education
  • 8.3% were working and studying
  • 9% were unemployed
Source: What do graduates do? 2010 

Teaching and other education work are the next most common career destinations. A large number of graduates choose to work in a creative field, like writing, publishing, PR or acting. However, there is a huge amount of variety in English-graduate career choices: legal, financial, and sales positions are also popular.

Reading the Stats

Statistics about employment after graduation can be misleading. Immediately after their degree, many English students choose to take temporary jobs or to travel rather than entering a career. Because these choices show up in the charts as unemployment or low-level employment, it can look like it’s harder to get a good job than it really is – if you want one!

If you want to see how English graduates fare in comparison to other arts and humanities disciplines, have a look at the table below taken from   p.53 of What do Graduates Do? 2010 , but remember that these statistics are collected only 6 months after graduation. If you are worried about unemployment, these figures show that (for 2008 graduates) the same percentage (9%) of English graduates was unemployed as the average for graduates across all disciplines. English fared best, however, amongst all arts and humanities subjects except Modern Languages.(14.6% of Media Studies graduates and 9.8% of History graduates were unemployed for example.) 'What do Graduates Do?' also has details about what English graduates do shortly after they graduate on p.57, or you an visit the Prospects.ac.uk statistics page, the UK’s official graduate careers website.

Destinations of first degree arts, creative arts and humanities graduates from 2009,
six months after graduation:

Numbers graduating (survey respondents) Entering employment Entering further study/ training Working and studying Unemployed at time of survey Other
Performing Arts 8020 60.1% 16.1% 6.8% 9.0% 7.9%
English 8545 51.9% 21.8% 8.3% 9.0% 9.0%
History 8130 49.3% 24.5% 7.8% 9.2% 9.2%
Media Studies 4350 65.1% 6.9% 4.2% 14.6% 9.3%
Modern Languages 6835 52.1% 22.7% 7.6% 8.3% 9.3%
Fine art 2965 56.1% 11.6% 7.8% 11.8% 12.8%
Design 9575 65.3% 6.6% 5.2% 13.1% 9.8%
All subjects 224895 59.2% 14.1% 8.0% 8.9% 8.4%

(Source = 'What do Graduates do? Report p.53)