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Do you Need Uni? Best Paid Non-Graduate Roles Earning Over £50,000 a Year


The myth that not having a degree bars you from a high-paying job has been dispelled, after research from the world’s biggest job site Indeed detailed five non-graduate roles which each pay more than the UK average wage.

While many of Britain’s best-paid jobs do require a university education, the study revealed a surprising number – and variety – of well-remunerated careers that don’t.

Indeed has analysed the salaries offered by tens of thousands of job adverts to identify five roles open to non-graduates that pay substantially more than the average UK yearly salary of £28,0001.

Top of the list are construction managers, who can expect to earn £53,118 a year – double the national average salary. While some construction managers have a foundation degree or HND, many learn the skills by working their way up through the ranks.

Table: Top 5 best-paid jobs that don’t require a degree

Source: Indeed

Rank Job Title Average Salary
1 Construction manager £53,118
2 Maintenance manager £38,675
3 Fitness manager £34,374
4 Executive assistant £33,150
5 Pilot £32,691

Such high salaries will give pause for thought to teenagers asking themselves whether a degree course is right for them. University fees are currently capped at £27,750 for a three-year course. Once living expenses are included, the reality is that most graduates will now finish their degree with debts of at least £55,0002.

The Indeed findings echo figures from the Office for National Statistics, which show that nearly a third (29%) of graduates earn less than those who entered work via an apprenticeship rather than a degree.

There’s good news too for the older non-graduate worker. Government figures show one in five apprentices is 35 or older, suggesting that many are able to ‘upskill’ or change career without having to become a mature student.

And while the popular image of the apprentice might be of a tool-wielding teenager learning a manual trade, the most common apprentice roles available on Indeed include positions in business administration, IT support and even social media.

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, comments: 

‘’This data proves that choosing not to go onto university does not automatically mean a lower salary. Although all the roles in our list do require some form of training, they don’t require a degree.

‘’Our figures suggest there is still a ‘graduate premium’, with graduates frequently earning more than those without a degree. But while having a degree typically increases your earning potential, the cost of gaining one is substantial. As a result many school-leavers will be asking themselves whether the sums of doing a degree add up.

‘’Our research should reassure parents and teenagers at the end of exam season that there are numerous routes into study and employment, as apprenticeships look set to play a bigger role in the British labour market.”