Physics demonstration of the black hole simulator

August 16, 2023, by Leah Sharpe

What Do Science Graduates Do?

By Katie Bonner, Careers Adviser

Every year Luminate, an arm of Prospects that focuses on data, publish their report on “What do Graduates do?” It’s a deep-dive into the destinations of graduates 15 months after leaving university, and 2023’s report looks at where the graduating class of 2019/20 ended up. 

In this blog I’m looking at some of the key destinations for science graduates, but you can explore lots of different outcomes by visiting the 2023 What do graduates do? report. 

These graduates are resilient: 

One of the key things the 2019/20 graduate outcomes data tells us is how resilient they are. These are the students who graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic, who were facing significant restrictions in place in the UK, and entering a job market that seemed a little unstable.  The pandemic disrupted all aspects of life. ‘Remote working’ was a new concept for many employers and their employees.  

For the graduates whose last year of study was switched online, this was inadvertent practise to cope with a hybrid workplace. By the time these graduates were surveyed (15 months after graduation), many social distancing restrictions had been lifted, employers and their workers had got used to working online, and job vacancy levels had returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

Science graduates found work taking on the big challenges: 

For science graduates at this time, there was a demand for their skills in a number of graduate level jobs especially in sectors that seek solutions to creating a sustainable future. The numeracy, technical, and scientific skills these graduates gained from their degrees makes them valuable in areas such as energy, health, digital, teaching and manufacturing. 

The types of work that Nottingham science graduates entered in summer 2020 are wide and varied. There were over 60 professional job codes listed ranging from marketing associates, IT professionals, lab-based scientists, environmental and conservation roles, data analysts, human resources professionals, and cyber security. 

The top roles that Nottingham science graduates can be grouped into are: 

1. Programmers and software development professionals, 

2. Secondary education teaching professionals, 

3. Chemical scientists, 

4. Actuaries, economists, and statisticians, 

5. Biochemists and biomedical scientists, 

6. Chartered and certified accountants, 

7. Finance and investment analysts and advisers, 

8. Laboratory technicians, 

9. Management consultants and business analysts, 

10. IT business analysts, architects, and systems designers

You can explore these career paths and others on the Careers website. 

What about further study? 

Undertaking a master’s qualification or a PhD still remains a popular decision for science graduates, and for the graduating class of 2019/20, undertaking further study was a destination that appealed to many.  

Over half of those taking further study in physics and chemistry were undertaking a PhD or doctorate level qualification, while psychology, biology and computer science saw just over half of graduates undertaking a master’s level qualification to specialise further in their chosen field. 

This is just the first step: 

Graduate outcomes get a lot of press and influence league tables for future students, but it’s important to remember that the graduates who answered the survey are just at the start of their careers. If we could fast forward to another 15 months, or another 15 years, we might see these graduates in totally different places to where they are now. So it’s encouraging to see that 77% of Nottingham science graduates feel that their current activity is on track with plans for their future, and that 85% feel their current activity is meaningful.  

As a Nottingham student you will have access to Careers support and resources for life after you graduate. We’re here for you at every stage of your planning and application process. If you’d like to talk to us now (or in the future) then book an appointment or see us during undergraduate teaching weeks at a drop-in. 

Posted in Graduating in 2023Labour Market Insights