In 2023, the clear favourite among UK businesses is artificial intelligence. A solid 25% of businesses surveyed ranked AI-focused degrees at the top of their list.
As direct evidence of this trend, 40% of employees confirmed that AI expertise holds the top spot as the most desired skill in the job market.
The Reign of Tech and Computing
Following closely behind AI are other tech-centred degrees. Information Technology (IT) stands strong with 21% of employers recognising it as a highly valuable degree.
Computer Science isn’t far behind, securing third place at 18%. Computer Engineering also gets a notable mention, with 17% of businesses favouring it.
Health-related Degrees: Important but Lower Ranked
It’s interesting to note that despite their life-saving potential, Medicine and Dentistry degrees ranked fifth, alongside Cybersecurity, both securing 16%.
The Resilience of Traditional Degrees
While tech degrees dominate, traditional studies like Law and Economics are also still holding ground.
These subjects continue to be valued, making their mark among the top 10 degrees preferred by businesses.
Current Course Availability
For those pondering their academic futures, as of 17 August, there are 160 available courses featuring Artificial Intelligence in the UK.
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If IT or Computer Engineering sparks interest, students have a choice among 902 and 901 courses respectively.
The Big Ten: A Quick Glance
For a snapshot of the most favoured degrees:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 25%
Information Technology – 21%
Computer Science – 18%
Computer Engineering – 17%
Cybersecurity – 16%
Medicine and Dentistry – 16%
Engineering – 15%
Software Engineering – 13%
Law – 11%
Economics – 10%
Additional mentions include Finance and Cloud Computing, both standing at 9%.
Kevin Pratt, a Business Expert at Forbes Advisor, shared his views on the findings.
He said, “The continued dominance of technology-related degrees, particularly those with a strong focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the list of most valued degrees by employers underscores the profound way that AI is set to change the workplace.”
“As the demand for this specific expertise continues to rise, securing a degree in this field not only positions individuals for success but also reflects the pivotal role technology plays in shaping the job market.”
He added, “Technology degrees have been highly sought-after for a couple of decades now, and this trend does not seem likely to change any time soon.”
“Obtaining a highly sought-after qualification not only equips graduates with relevant skills but also positions them at the forefront of innovation and the evolving landscape of employment opportunities.”
Behind the Numbers: The Study Explained
The study, conducted by Forbes Advisor, took place between 7-14 August 2023. A total of 500 businesses participated, with the respondent pool balanced equally between middle managers and senior managers.
The main question posed was simple: Which degrees do you think are the most valuable to possess in 2023?