Just under half of all UK undergraduate physics students who graduated in 1995/96 had found jobs by the end of last year, according to the UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency. In comparison, two-thirds of all students were by then working. One reason for the difference is that 39% of physicists went on to do other study or training, compared to just 20% of all undergraduates.

The most popular employment sector for physicists was a broad category that included business and research activities, property development and renting. Manufacturing was also popular, followed by the wholesale and retail trade, public administration, defence and social security, and finance.

The figures also highlighted the gender imbalance in physics. While women made up 53% of the total student population, just 20% of the physicists who replied to the survey were female.