Is it better to study a degree subject you love or one that you are more likely to gain employment in?

Is it better to study a degree subject you love or one that you are more likely to gain employment in?

When it comes to choosing your degree course do you opt for a subject you are likely to enjoy or a something you are more likely to find a job in?

Looking at my own experiences and of those around me, I wasn’t really sure what degree I wanted to do and opted for a subject that interested me, Multimedia Systems I now work for a job board in a admin / social media role. One sister wanted to study art but felt pressured by parents to study for an Accounting degree, she did become an account, earned good money but found it boring at times. One brother had an interest in Psychology and is now a data analyst. My youngest brother and sister are still studying but opted for subjects that also interested them, fashion and graphics.

Can your hobbies become a potential career for you or are you better off choosing a subject that you are capable of doing but doesn’t really spark that fire in your belly?

Despite the gradual increase in the graduate job market it has been bleak at times. Graduates struggling to find degree related employment with approximately 85 graduates applying to one job. Although a third of graduates do find employment after graduation at least 57% are earning less than £16k. Despite the controversy surrounding them at least 85% of graduates are willing to take on unpaid internships if it could mean gaining employment. Others have chosen to change their career paths in order to find employment or taking any job that will pay the bills in the interim.

UK students pay a yearly tuition fee of £9k, students from abroad paying approximately £10k per year, with these kind of fees it can be argued that it is better to study towards a degree that is more likely to result in a well-paying job at the end of your studies.

On the other side of this debate would it not be better to study a course that you are passionate about? The theory is because you enjoy the subject you are likely to obtain a better degree classification. Your degree classification is something potential employers will take notice off but not the only thing. They will also want to know how capable you are of doing the job and fitting in with the team.

As already mentioned some graduates end up in jobs that are not related to their degree subject. Two friends both studied history at degree level, one is now a marketing manager, and the other went on to do her NCTJ and is now head reporter for a newspaper.

Deciding which subject to study is similar to choosing a career path. Do you opt for something you are passionate about but is difficult to find a job in perhaps doesn’t pay well or do you choose a career you’re not overly excited about but are good at and enables you to do the things you are excited about?

Every individual is different, for some the need to do something that involves putting their whole heart and effort into is more important than doing something that is considered ‘just a job’. Take the likes of Steve Jobs who said “the only way to do great work is to love what you do”. This worked out well for him as the things that he was passionate about eventually made him a lot of money and to him did not feel like work. For others, not loving their job doesn’t not mean they will not put effort into it and be a success they may decide to keep the two separate and not risk the turning the things that once put fire in our bellies into a regular 9-5.

Like our careers even the things we were once passionate about can change, what once interested us 5 years ago may not the same today. Make a decision that is right for you, in 5 years’ time you may decide you’re had enough of being a nurse and no want to become a comedian.


4 thoughts on “Is it better to study a degree subject you love or one that you are more likely to gain employment in?

  1. This is a hot topic in higher ed in the U.S. Alas, it’s turning more universities into training schools, at the expense of the liberal arts. I think it’s all about balance, but we’re not too good at that across the pond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a shame that students no longer can choose a subject they really enjoy and want to gain more knowledge in, such as History or English Literature. Instead it is a case of what will help get me a decent job at the end of my studies and pay off my debts.


  2. unless one plans to be a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, one is unlikely to end up pursuing a career related to one’s degree subject

    my advice then would always be to study something that interests you and that you enjoy

    [there are general skills acquired while studying for any degree that will stand a student in good stead when applying for a job

    things like . . . ability to research a position, to marshall arguments for and against a proposition and communicate these effectively whether verbally or in writing, working to strict deadlines etc]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, not all employers see it that way.
      I suppose it doesn’t help there aren’t enough jobs to the number of graduates to begin with.

      Another reason why some universities are starting to encourage graduates to become entrepreneurs


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