Revealed: The highest-paying HNC and HND subjects

New Scottish government statistics reveal the median wage students earn after leaving college, with significant disparities depending on what was studied

Julia Belgutay

FE colleges: woman working on oil platform

Students leaving college with an HNC or an HND earn a median salary of £15,600 three years after completing their course, according to Scottish government figures.

The statistics, published last week, found that this was the median income for those with no further record of tertiary education who completed college in 2012-13.

Men earned £2,200 more than women, according to the statistics, with those aged 25 to 34 having the highest median earnings, at £16,000, compared to those aged 35 to 44, who earned £13,700. 

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Higher earnings

There were, however, significant disparities between different subject “superclass groupings”. The subject group with the highest earnings was oil/mining/plastics/chemicals, with median total earnings of £57,800 per year, while the group with the lowest earnings was that of politics/economics/law/social sciences, with median total earnings of £10,600.

“The earnings for oil/mining/plastics/chemicals greatly exceed the other superclass groupings, as the second highest median total earnings was £24,400 for engineering,” says the report, and these high earnings “could be influenced by a range of factors including the unique employment opportunities offered with this course, and the individuals on the course may already be working in the sector prior to enrolment at college”. “More generally, some superclass groupings are broad and contain a range of different career options for students. As such, there can be wide variation in earnings post college,” it adds.

Highest earnings by subject

HND/C subject groups and their associated median pay three years later


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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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