SCOTTISH graduates earn more than their counterparts across the rest of the UK.

New figures show the average salary of Scottish graduates was £23,500 in 2016/17 - £500 more than students leaving university in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The highest salaries of £33,500 were earned by graduates from medicine and dentistry, followed by the £30,000 for those who studied social studies, engineering or mathematical science.

The lowest salaries for Scottish graduates was the £21,000 for those who studied creative art and design.

The figures, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, come after the “obsession” of teachers and parents with a university degree was questioned in recent weeks.

Sir Ian Wood, a philanthropist and former Wood Group chief executive, said parents and teachers pressurised pupils to go to university without knowing whether it was the best option for them.

And he called for a greater focus on the importance of vocational qualifications - as well as a campaign to highlight successful and lucrative careers outside the traditional professions.

The new figures were welcomed by universities and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

David Lott, deputy director of Universities Scotland, said: “These figures demonstrate that graduates from Scottish universities continue to be highly valued by employers across the country, both as new graduates and as they move through their careers.

“Salary is not the only way to judge the success of a graduate, but as graduations take place the length and breadth of Scotland over the coming weeks, those students can be assured that the hard work they have undertaken will be highly valued in the labour market.”

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the SFC, added: “This is good news and comes on top of last week’s news that five years after graduation, students leaving Scotland’s universities can expect to earn higher salaries than their counterparts in other parts of Britain.”