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Arts graduates are the lowest paid, report finds

Creative arts graduates in Britain earn the least after university, claims a new report. Photo: Shutterstock
Creative arts graduates in Britain earn the least after university, claims a new report. Photo: Shutterstock
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Arts graduates in the UK earn less than graduates of any other subject, a new report suggests.

The research also claimed that people from wealthier families earn significantly more than their less privileged counterparts.

Those graduating with creative arts degrees were found to be the lowest earners after 10 years of working, out of 21 university degree subjects.

The creative arts graduates polled – around 55% of whom were female – earned a median average of £14,500 per year for women and £17,900 for men. Just 10% of men with a degree in the creative arts earned more than £37,4000, while only the top 10% of female arts graduates earned above £35,300.

Other low-earning degree subjects include veterinary and agriculture, linguistics and classics, and biological sciences. Medicine, economics, engineering and law were found to be the most profitable.

The wage gap between creative arts graduates, at the lowest end of the pay scale, and those earning the most – medicine – is around £31,000 for women and £37,000 for men.

The research also found that across the board, graduates from wealthier backgrounds earned significantly more than those from poorer backgrounds. The average gap is around £8,000 a year for men and £5,300 a year for women.

The study, carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UCL Institute of Education, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, uses tax and student loan data from 260,000 people in the UK. It is the first time big data has been used to examine graduate earnings.

The report's author Anna Vignoles, from the University of Cambridge, said students "need to realise that their subject choice is important in determining how much of an earnings advantage they will have".

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