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The top paying jobs that don’t require a degree

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Nervous students opening their A-Level results tomorrow need not panic if they don’t get their grades as many top-paying jobs don’t require a degree, according to research.

You may assume the best-paid jobs require a university education, but not having a degree doesn’t stop you tapping into well-paid careers.

Job site Indeed looked at the salaries offered by tens of thousands of job adverts and found 10 non-graduate roles that each pay more than the average UK wage of £27,600.

Here’s the list of jobs and average salary:

  • Ethical hacker (tests or evaluate computer network security) £56,547
  • Construction manager £53,118
  • Software engineer £39,097
  • Maintenance manager £38,675
  • Sales manager £37,991
  • Fitness manager £34,374
  • Executive assistant £33,150
  • Pilot £32,691
  • Head chef £30,867
  • Mechanic £28,734.

Indeed said these high salaries will give “pause for thought” to teenagers who may be questioning whether a degree course is right for them.

University fees are currently capped at £27,750 for a three-year course. But once living expenses are factored in, the reality is that most graduates will accrue debts of at least £55,000.

Indeed said workers with apprenticeship experience often do better than university graduates. In 2016, 29% of UK graduates earned less than what the average non-graduate with an apprenticeship took in, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Bill Richards, UK managing director at Indeed, said: “This data proves that choosing not to go to university after school doesn’t 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 this is usually once they have spent a few years in work – and many will start their careers in the same entry level positions as they would had they not gone to university.

“And while having a degree typically increases your long-term 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.”

Richards added that the figures should reassure parents and teenagers at the end of exam season that there are other routes into study and employment. “High salaries are by no means the exclusive domain of those heading off to university in September”, he said.