If you want to work in finance, should you get a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subject? Or should you go for economics?
If the past is any indication of the future, economics looks like your best bet.
The charts below, taken from a paper by a group of economists at the University of Sheffield, show that, in the UK at least, economics graduates are most likely to go into banking. STEM graduates are a lot more likely to do something else instead.
Non-STEM graduates and finance careers
STEM graduates and finance careers
Confusingly, the Y axes on the charts go up in increments of 10. In the UK, around 25% of economics graduates went into finance in 2011 (the last year for which figures are available), compared to around 10% of maths and computing graduates. Only 5% of engineering graduates opted for finance careers.
Does this mean you won't be able to get into finance if you study maths and computing? Not at all. It does imply, however, that economics graduates will have an 'alumni' advantage. - Historic trends suggest that a high proportion of current finance professionals have economics degrees. And they're likely to hire in their own image.
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