UK Graduates prioritise salary and view finance as most stable career, survey finds.

Friday, June 23, 2023


A survey conducted by the CFA Institute reveals that UK graduates and current students are placing a significant emphasis on salary when choosing their careers.

The survey, titled the CFA Institute 2023 Global Graduate Outlook Survey, highlights the changing priorities and concerns of young professionals in the UK job market. With fears of low pay and a desire for a good salary, finance has emerged as the most popular career choice, overtaking medicine, which held the top spot in the previous survey. This article will delve into the key findings of the survey and shed light on the shifting landscape of career preferences among UK graduates.

Salary Takes Centre Stage

According to the survey, 70% of respondents prioritise a good salary when considering their career options. This figure represents a notable increase from the previous survey's findings, which stood at 47%. The rising cost of living, persistent inflation, and weak economic growth have all contributed to this shift in mindset, as graduates seek industries that offer higher pay in the hope of securing a more stable and secure future.

Pessimism and Career Prospects

The emphasis on salary has resulted in a more pessimistic outlook among UK graduates and current students compared to their global counterparts. Approximately one in three (32%) UK respondents expressed a lack of confidence in their

future job prospects, compared to the global average of one in four (25%). Moreover, less than half (48%) of UK respondents believe they have better career prospects than their parents' generation, a figure lower than the global average of 56%.

Finance Surges in Popularity

The survey highlights a significant shift in career preferences among UK graduates, with finance emerging as the most popular choice. This field has surpassed medicine, which held the top spot in the previous survey. Approximately 29% of respondents now view finance as the most stable career choice, up from 16% in the previous survey. This trend can be attributed to the perception that finance offers higher salaries and greater stability, given the current economic climate.

Importance of Upskilling and Qualifications

Despite concerns about their job prospects, UK graduates and students recognize the significance of upskilling and acquiring professional or post-graduate qualifications. An overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) believe that upskilling and qualifications are crucial in today's job market. Additionally, two in three (68%) respondents stated that their earnings prospects have improved as a result of completing a postgraduate or professional qualification.

Looking Ahead: Employer Responsibility and Training Opportunities

The survey underscores the need for employers to assess the training opportunities they offer to meet the demands of the next generation of talent. It is encouraging to note that 64% of UK graduates have actively sought out training opportunities from their employers, more than double the global average of 30%. Employers should strive to align their training programs with the evolving needs of young professionals, enabling them to balance their existing commitments while pursuing a career in finance or other preferred industries.

The CFA Institute 2023 Global Graduate Outlook Survey sheds light on the evolving priorities and concerns of UK graduates and current students. The survey highlights the growing emphasis on salary and the perception of finance as a stable career choice. While pessimism about job prospects exists, there is a recognition of the importance of upskilling and qualifications to navigate the current job market successfully. By prioritising training and offering relevant opportunities, employers can attract and retain the next generation of talent, ensuring a prosperous future for both graduates and businesses alike.