New law graduates earn less money than social studies, education and business studies graduates

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

£20,000 a year average makes it one of lowest salaries

New data has revealed law is one of the lowest paid degree subjects of all, in the first six months after graduation anyway.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency has released a whole host of facts and figures about the destination of 2015/2016 graduates. Collated in January 2017, the data shows the mean salary for those who entered full-time employment in the UK after graduation, and for lawyers it’s £20,000.

Compared to other graduates, this is pretty low. Only four subjects scored lower; they are: biological sciences (£18,500), mass communications (£18,500), languages (£19,500) and creative arts (£18,000). Pay for graduates of either agriculture or historical and philosophical studies are also set to rake in annual earnings of £20,000 six months after graduating, but every other subject came out higher.

This may shock readers who assume a law degree is a safe bet for a lucrative career, but it is of course worth mentioning not all graduates are instantly snapped up by employers. The data shows just 46% of law graduates headed straight for full-time UK employment; 33% moved into further study (the Legal Practice Course (LPC), for example) while 10% opted for a hybrid of the two. Five percent of recent law graduates were, in January 2017, unemployed.

It’s worth noting at this stage the differences between male and female graduates exemplified by this data, and that women made up about two thirds of 2015/2016 graduates. For starters, men in full-time employment fare better than women in the earnings stakes; men take home a mean average of £21,000 while women just £19,000.

As for the destination of higher education leavers, there are some differences. For one, 47% of females headed for the employment roll, compared to 44% of men. However fewer women went straight on to further study (32% compared to 35% men). Men are slightly more likely than women to be unemployed (6% compared to 4% women), while more females (11%) are now enjoying further study paired with work compared to males (10%).

Mean salary by university subject six months after graduation

Subject Mean salary (January 2017)
Medicine and dentistry £29,500
Veterinary science £27,500
Engineering £25,500
Mathematical science £24,500
Computer science £24,000
Architecture £22,500
Social studies £22,500
Business studies £22,000
Subjects allied to medicine £22,000
Physical sciences £21,500
Combined degrees £21,000
Education £20,500
Agriculture £20,000
Historical and philosophical studies £20,000
Law £20,000
Languages £19,500
Biological sciences £18,500
Mass communications £18,500
Creative arts £18,000
Average £21,500

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub.