Highest Paying Jobs in the UK for International Students

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Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Feb 17, 2023 11:47 AM IST

Following the increase in tuition fees, more and more students are undoubtedly taking graduate salaries into account when choosing which university courses to enrol in. Therefore, it would be fair to ask which degrees lead to the highest paying jobs in the UK? Let us take a closer look at the answer below.

Highest Paying Jobs in the UK for International Students

The UK has the sixth-largest economy in the world with a working population of 32.4 million people. Many international students who study in the UK intend to stay there after graduation because the nation has an employment rate of over 75%. As of 2019-20, the UK is home to more than 538,000 aspiring international students, as per the figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The second most popular place of origin for students enrolling in UK higher education institutions are, unsurprisingly, Indian students.

Given that tuition fees are at an all-time high, it is imperative to research the courses that are most rewarding, especially in terms of the ROI. Now that you are looking for the highest-paying jobs in the UK, let us take an overview of the country's minimum wage structure.

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Basic Minimum Wage Structure in the UK

As a point of reference, the UK's National Minimum Wage is GBP 8.91 per hour. For individuals aged 18 to 20, the starting salary is GBP 6.56 and for those between the ages of 21 and 22, the estimated salary is GBP 8.36.

A full-time job at age 21 or 22 would make GBP 15,215 per year if you put in 35 hours per week. After taxes, the remuneration falls to GBP 14,008 annually. As of 1 April 2021, the National Minimum Wage in the UK was GBP 28,000 per annum.

What about the highest paying jobs in the UK for new graduates? The statistics fluctuate on this for a number of reasons, but the average starting salary in the UK is roughly GBP 24,000 annually. If we divide it, it comes out to about GBP 2,000 per month, a little over GBP 450 per week, or a little over GBP 90 each day.

An income of this amount or over would be considered a decent starting wage, covering your living costs, allowing recreational activities, and helping you pay off your student loans (if any).

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What Degrees Pay the Highest Salary in the UK?

In the past, getting any degree guaranteed a good salary. However, things have changed since then. It was estimated that only 10-20% of the UK population was enrolled in higher education in the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, that figure has risen to about 50%. For many recent graduates, this translates to tougher competition for employment, stagnating starting pay against growing living expenses, and ultimately, longer-term student debt.

But not every degree is like this. If you make the proper decision, you will land a well-paying job doing something you enjoy right from the start. In particular, if your primary priority is to land for highest paying jobs in the UK once you graduate, the following table breaks down a variety of best degrees you might want to think about pursuing:

Degree Type

Estimated Annual Salary (in GBP)

Business & Administration

25,000

Computer Science

27,000

Dentistry

38,000

Economics

29,700

Medicine

33,500

Veterinary Medicine

35,330

These are simply the starting salaries on average for diverse positions among these disciplines. With any of the degrees listed above, you have a lot of room to make more or less money depending on your experience, where you live, etc.

For example, as a medical practitioner, you can begin by making only approximately GBP 33,500 annually, however, after a few years, it is simple to advance to earning GBP 50,000 to GBP 60,000 or maybe more.

List of Highest Paying Job Positions in the UK

The senior manager or chief executive position is the highest-paid job position in the United Kingdom. Senior managers and chief executives are crucial business leaders who have a multitude of responsibilities. Being highly trained professionals, their annual remuneration should be commensurate with their skill set and daily workload.

Chief executives and Senior managers can make anywhere from GBP 50,000 on the very low-income scale to as high as around GBP 600,000 per year. There are many more highest paying jobs in the UK besides serving as a chief executive or senior manager of an organisation. To help you come up with more career options, below we have listed the top 20 highest paying jobs in the UK:

Job Role

Estimated Annual Salary (in GBP)

Accountant

65,000

Advertising and Public Relations Director

100,000

Aircraft Controller

50,000

Aircraft Pilot

62,000

Analyst

70,000

Computer Hardware Engineer

87,000

Construction Manager

55,000

Dentist

51,000

Economist

82,600

Epidemiologist

55,400

Geologist

82,000

Higher Education Teacher (Mathematics)

61,000

Investment Banker

78,000

Legal Professional

65,000

Medical Doctor

50,000

Optometrist

86,900

Orthodontist

120,000

Recruitment Consultant

80,000

Senior Manager/Chief Executive

355,790

Software Application Developer

79,000

Top 5 Highest Paying Job Industries in the UK

Now that you are aware of the highest paying job positions along with their annual salaries, let us examine some of the highest paying job industries in the UK for recent graduates and for experienced professionals considering a change of career. Healthcare and finance are two of the industries and specialities with the highest paying professions. Here are the top 5 industries to be aware of, followed by a list of the three best-paying positions in each of those areas:

Science and Technology

Engineering professions, computer programming, and web development are just a few of the many jobs that fall within the broad definition of the science and technology sector.

These kinds of science and technology-related professions are typically quite rewarding. There are several options for qualified individuals to find employment and make a good livelihood as firms throughout the world focus more on digital technologies.

Top Three Job Positions in the Field of Science and Technology:

  • Computer Hardware Engineer

  • Software Application Developer

  • Geologist

Business and Finance

The best-paid workers in the UK are chief executives and business managers, as was previously mentioned. Although in the world of business or marketing, you do not necessarily need the position of CEO to make a lot of money.

Financial advisers, marketing specialists, and other business-minded people are always needed to help businesses expand and become more profitable.

Top Three Job Positions in the Field of Business and Finance:

  • Advertising and Public Relations Director

  • Investment Banker

  • Chief Executive

Healthcare

Over the past few years, many industries in the UK have suffered. The healthcare sector, however, is one of the few that fared well during the hurricane.

A job in healthcare is typically a sure thing, regardless of where you live. People will always need to collaborate with medical professionals including nurses, doctors, and dentists.

In the UK, there are normally always available positions for healthcare workers, and now more than ever because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Top Three Job Positions in the Field of Healthcare:

  • Medical doctor

  • Dentist

  • Optometrist

Education

A career as a teacher is very rewarding, and if you have the potential, you can make a good living in the UK. To earn a high salary, you need to teach at a higher level such as in post-secondary education.

In comparison to other teaching positions, the job market at this level is typically more competitive. With enough experience, however, you will be able to stand out from the competition and land a job as a teacher.

Top Three Job Positions in the Field of Education:

  • Higher Education Teacher (Philosophy and Religion)

  • Higher Education Teacher (Mathematics)

  • Headteacher

Legal

It is true that the legal sector has suffered from significant turnover rates over the past few years. However, for individuals who reside in the UK, a career in law is still financially rewarding.

For those who desire to work in the industry, there are various possibilities available, many of which offer great pay and promising career opportunities.

Top Three Job Positions in the Field of Law:

  • Barrister

  • Solicitor

  • Legal Partner

Can International Students Work in the UK After Completing their Master's Degree?

Yes, international students can work in the UK after completing their masters degree. To stay in the UK and find qualifying employment with an approved employer, you must apply for a Tier 2 (general) work visa, just as you must for a student visa to study in the UK. You must submit a Tier 1 visa application if your objective is to launch a business in the UK. You have five years left on your UK work permit to develop your future and make plans to stay in the country on a permanent basis.

For the kind of work you are doing, skilled workers in the UK are entitled to a minimum wage. Out of the three possibilities shown below, this minimum wage will be the highest:

  • Wage standard for the job position you hold

  • Minimum 10.10 GBP/ hour

  • Overall GBP 25,600/ year

UK Universities with Best Graduate Employability

UK universities equip students with the hard and soft skills required for the modern work environment. It is always a good idea to take admission in a university that has a good graduate employability rate which will help you to land a job soon and get the best return on your investment. If you wish to get a high-paying job in the UK, check out the following universities which have the best graduate employability as per the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022: 

University in UK

QS Graduate Employability Ranking 

Rate of Graduate Employment

University of Oxford

7

96.7

University of Cambridge

11

94

University College London 

20

89.6

Imperial College London

30

82.8

University of Manchester

42

73.9

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

48

72.2

The University of Edinburgh

=49

71.6

University of Bristol

=49

71.6

University of Leeds

=52

70.6

University of Nottingham

66

66

How to Find the Highest Paying Jobs in the UK?

Now that you are aware of the highest paying jobs in the UK pertaining to different categories, it is time to understand how one may initially find a job. Listed below are the primary ways by which most international students find employment in the UK:

Placements: Through placements, you can land a job in the UK. You can witness several prestigious brands hiring new talent at the institution throughout their last year of study. You can go to an interview if any of those companies appeal to your academic and professional interests. After this, if you are selected, you will be given an offer letter and will be able to start working there after your graduation.

Job Portals: There are numerous job portals and websites accessible for you to visit as you begin your job hunt. For instance, Indeed, Post-study, Linkedin, etc. These websites provide all of the job vacancies together with the employer name, job description, application procedures, expected income ranges, etc.

Internships/Part-Time: Depending on the academic subject they have chosen, most international students prefer to look for part-time job options in the UK or an internship to supplement their income and strengthen their skills while studying. If you do well, you can simply transition from this part-time position to a full-time one.

Alumni: An excellent way to obtain employment in the UK is through alumni. Reaching out to alumni can help you learn more about the course you are pursuing and determine whether there are any job vacancies for which you would be a good fit. Seeking their assistance will improve your job hunt in the UK since alumni typically have excellent connections and work for reputable companies.

Recruiting Fairs: The majority of recruitment fairs are held, as indicated by the website of your university. This is comparable to a placement opportunity where various business groups will be searching for skills that will meet their vacant job positions. Students can check out the same to determine if any of them align with their professional interests.

Work Visa in UK for Employment

As a foreign national, if you want to work in UK, you will require a work visa for getting employed. There are different types of work visas that you can apply for to work in any of the highest paying jobs in UK. More than 2 lakh work visas are granted in the UK every year and Indians are amongst the top recipients of the visas. The most popular types of visas required for highest paying jobs in UK are:

Graduate Visa

This visa allows you to stay in UK for two years after you complete your degree in the UK.  PhD holders can stay for three years. You must be in the UK while applying for this visa. Your current visa status must be a UK Student visa. You must have studied a bachelor, postgraduate or other courses for a minimum period of time and your education provider must notify Home Office that you have completed your course. You can find a job with this visa and on its expiry, you can switch to a skilled worker visa. 

Skilled Worker Visa

The skilled worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 visa and it allows you to work in the UK with an approved employer. You can live in the UK for five years and after that, you can extend it. You will be eligible for this visa if you have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the job role, you are employed in a job on the list of eligible occupations and you get a minimum salary. Most importantly, you must be able to read, write, speak and understand English. You can apply for this visa three months before the work start date and can get a decision within three weeks.

To sum up, determine your hobbies and the kind of employment role you are looking for, then acquire the necessary knowledge and expertise. To help you stand out from the competition, be sure to customise and keep your CV up-to-date with your qualifications, relevant work experience, apprenticeships, and other accomplishments.

An optimistic outlook will go a long way for you, especially when you are up against other excellent candidates. Even if you receive a job rejection, make an effort to get in touch with your interviewer so you may get honest suggestions on where you went wrong.

Interested to know more about the highest paying jobs in the UK? Or, need expert guidance to choose the right course to enrol in? Ask our experts at abroad@collegedekho.com. and resolve all your queries right away.

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FAQs

What are the highest paying jobs in the UK for business sectors?

The following are the highest paying jobs in the UK for business sectors:

  • Finance and professional services: Average salary- GBP 32,850

  • Health and pharmaceuticals: Average salary- GBP 29,500

  • Built environment: Average salary- GBP 28,000

  • Charity and the public sector: Average salary- GBP 25,996

  • Legal: Average salary- GBP 42,250

  • Digital and IT: Average salary- GBP 31,750

  • Energy, engineering and industry: Average salary- GBP 28,000

  • Retail and FMCG: Average salary- GBP 28,000

According to the most recent data from the ISE, the starting salaries for graduates in the 2020-21 recruitment round were in the line with those indicated above. These results, however, do not necessarily reflect graduate compensation across the board.

How much can I earn as a first-year trainee solicitor in the UK?

As a first-year trainee solicitor, you can expect to earn somewhere between GBP 40,000 to GBP 50,000. The highest starting pay for solicitors is typically earned by graduates who work for large and mid-sized commercial companies. Large recruiters frequently include benefits including private health care, season ticket loans, life insurance, and gym memberships.

How much can I earn as a barrister in the UK?

You can expect to earn about GBP 40,000 to 70,000 as a barrister in the UK for the first 12 months. However, all pupillages are required to provide an award of GBP 17,152 for pupillages other than London and  GBP 19,144 for those in London for a 12-month period. Sets engaged in publicly financed work are likely to offer considerably less. Regardless of the area of law, you have decided to specialise in, if you are successful in building your practice after acquiring tenure, you can expect to see a significant boost in your income.

What are the typical salaries and benefits in accounting in the UK?

Depending on the firm and area, starting wages for accountants are likely to range from GBP 18,000 to 28,000. Larger employers, particularly the Big 4 professional services organisations, might offer higher salaries. It typically takes three to four years to become qualified with a professional body. A graduate loan could be included in your total compensation and benefits package. As you advance, there are solid chances for future pay raises.

How much can recent graduates earn in the not-for-profit/charity sector in the UK?

Recent graduate starting pay in the not-for-profit or charitable sector varies depending on the company you work for, the sector, position, and the location of the job. In an entry-level position, you may normally expect to make between GBP 15,000 to GBP 20,000; if you live in London, certain charities may also pay you extra.

Graduate programmes usually pay more than entry-level positions, and salaries for programmes with charities like Charity Works, Worthwhile, and Cancer Research typically range from GBP 18,000 to 25,000.

What salary benefits can I expect as a consulting employer in the UK?

You can expect numerous salary benefits provided by consulting businesses as a consulting employer in the UK. The majority of consulting companies tend to be coy about their pay until they provide you with an offer of employment. They usually use adjectives like ‘competitive’ or ‘very competitive’ to characterise the graduate starting pay on offer. One exception to this trend is Newton Europe, where salaries begin at GBP 45,000.

What is the graduate starting salary in construction and civil engineering in the UK?

The graduate starting salary in construction and civil engineering in the UK falls in the region between GBP 24,000 to GBP 31,000. Larger firms offering graduate programmes usually pay the same wage for all graduate positions, however, some give extra for specific areas. Employers offering specific employment, on the other hand, may pay varying rates for different sorts of jobs, with engineers often being offered more.

What role does education play in determining salary in the UK?

Education plays an important role in determining salary in the UK. As reported in 2018, individuals with a bachelor's degree earned almost 130% more than those having no qualifications, according to Annual Population Survey data. However, having a postgraduate degree, your compensation may rise even further. The report also mentions the following:

  • On average, people with A*-C GCSEs or equivalent earned GBP 381 a week

  • Individuals having no qualifications earned an average of GBP 304 a week.

  • On average, A-Level or equivalent individuals earned GBP 435 a week.

  • On average, people having a degree or equivalent qualification earned GBP 694 a week.

Are there any other factors that affect salaries in the UK?

Yes, there are numerous other factors that may affect salaries in the UK including the education, age of the employee, geographical region, qualifications and job industry, etc. In general, major urban locations tend to pay higher salaries than rural ones. Comparatively, London and its surrounding regions have higher salaries than the rest of the country. The 10 local authorities in the UK with the highest median full-time gross weekly incomes are listed below:

  • Tower Hamlets, London: GBP 956.30

  • Knowsley, Merseyside: GBP 909

  • Southwark, London: GBP 806.70

  • Bracknell Forest, Berkshire: GBP 770.60

  • Hammersmith and Fulham, London: GBP 763

  • City of London: GBP 1,103.10

  • Copeland, Cumbria: GBP 949.5

  • Westminster, London: GBP 838.40

  • Derby, Derbyshire: GBP 779.10

  • Camden, London: GBP 766.10

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