19 Aug 2016 12:00pm

Swiss university graduates best paid in Europe

UK university graduates are falling behind Swiss and French graduates in terms of pay, new research has found

Swiss universities produce the best-paid graduates in Europe, according to salary-benchmarking site Emolument.

Emolument rounded up the top 30 European universities with the highest paid graduates, with graduates from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland topping the list with average salaries of £160,000.

St Gallen’s Masters programme is particularly popular and well regarded by employers in the financial sector in Switzerland, which pays substantial bonuses early on, according to Emolument.

Three more Swiss universities made the top five while the London Business School ranked fifth, with graduates earning average salaries of £102,000.

The question of return on investment is at the forefront of most students' minds when they look to enroll on a course

Alice Leguay, co-founder and chief operating officer at Emolument

The London School of Economics came in tenth with average salaries of £85,000.

Cambridge and Oxford and their respective business schools come in at 15th and 16th place, respectively, both with average graduate salaries of £82,000.

Bristol University was in 14th place, also with average graduate salaries of £82,000.

Graduates from Imperial College London and Imperial College Business School also made it into the top 20, with graduates earning on average £75,000 a year.

City University London & Cass Business School and Warwick University & Business School come in at 24th and 25th position with respective graduate salaries of £69,000 and £70,000.

Despite Swiss universities topping the list with graduates earning 40% more than their UK peers from top universities, the report highlighted that Switzerland’s 40% higher cost of living means the pay gap disappears.

French universities dominated the list with 11 universities featured in the top 30 – four of which made the top 10.

According to Emolument, French students traditionally graduate with a Masters degree and universities in France only recently started offering Bachelor programs. The research revealed that 90% of respondents from French universities held a Masters degree compared to only 50% from Oxford or Cambridge which could explain how they can demand high pay from the beginning of their career.

With rising tuition fees in UK universities, school-leavers might be tempted to study abroad where fees are lower. At the University of St. Gallen, tuition fees are less than £2,000 a year compared to £9,000 for most UK institutions, according to the report.

Alice Leguay, co-founder and chief operating officer at Emolument said, "The question of return on investment is at the forefront of most students' mind when they look to enroll on a course. Being mindful that Masters' fees tend to be higher than Bachelor's, they clearly drive high pay levels upon graduation.

“Some universities also see a high proportion of their students start their careers in the high paying financial sector, which a clear aim: pay off their debts and polish off their formal education with hands on experience before moving to other horizons."

Sinead Moore


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