Why it pays to study maths at A level

Tuesday 26th November 2019

Figures published by the Government this month show what students who took A levels in 2010/11 were earning at age 24 in 2016/17 and maths comes out on top!

For the first time, government analysis has shown how pupils’ subject choices aged 16 can affect their future earnings.

Sixth formers who take A level Further Mathematics earn on average £25,500 by the age of 24 which is more than any other A level. The highest-flying Further Mathematics students, those in the upper quartile of earnings, can earn up to £31,500 at that age.

Other high-earning A level subjects include Maths, Physics, Economics and Computing, which were higher than some other popular A levels such as Sociology, Psychology and English Literature.

Salary six years on, by subject taken at A level
  Lower quartile Median Upper quartile
Further Maths £19,200 £25,500 £31,500
Economics £18,200 £23,900 £29,800
Physics £17,200 £23,700 £28,800
Maths £16,800 £22,500 £28,000
Computing £16,600 £22,500 £28,000
Chemistry £15,900 £21,600 £27,600
Business Studies £16,500 £21,000 £25,900
Geography £15,800 £20,900 £25,900
Biology £15,300 £20,600 £25,600
Physical Education £15,300 £20,400 £25,100
History £14,400 £19,400 £24,200
English Literature £13,800 £19,200 £24,000
Psychology £14,500 £19,100 £23,400
Sociology £13,900 £18,300 £22,700
Media Studies £13,500 £18,100 £22,500
Art and Design £12,000 £16,900 £21,400

Financial gain is just one of the many reasons to study A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics. However, this data demonstrates that students who have taken mathematical subjects are very employable. Studying these courses develops the skills that employers are looking for, such as critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning and communication. The high-earning potential that students could gain from having these qualifications will offer them security for the future. 

If you would like to share the many reasons for continuing to study maths after GCSE with your students, their parents and other education colleagues, then please see our previous news item on Free materials to promote advanced maths.

The figures, from the Department for Education, draw on tax data to reveal what people in England who took their A-levels in 2010/11 were earning in 2016/17. If you are interested in investigating this data for yourself, or perhaps with your students, then you can find it here.

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