According to research from salary benchmarking site Emolument.com, top of the list of earners are Harvard graduates, who can expect to receive a remuneration package worth £105,000, including a salary of £81,000 plus a bonus of £8,000.
This compares with graduates from Oxford and Cambridge whose remuneration packages average out at £70,000 (salary £65,000) and £68,000 (salary £63,000) respectively.
Oxbridge graduates fare better when it comes to return on investment though. Their far lower fees, which come in at around £17,000 a year, even when set against their average earnings of £58,000 as junior professionals (two to six years’ experience), place them second and third behind Harvard.
Harvard graduates can expect to receive an average of £120,000 a year as junior professionals, having invested £34,000 a year in fees – a return of 3.5.
Surprisingly, Harvard is one of the cheapest Ivy League universities – Columbia is the most expensive with annual fees of £41,000, followed by Pennsylvania at £39,000 and Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell at £38,000.
Like Harvard, Princeton also only charges £34,000, but scientists graduating from this New Jersey-based university will find that their earning capacity is boosted by an astonishing 42%.
Science graduates tend to earn more than arts graduates, except those from Oxford whose remuneration package is an average £3,000 higher than their science peers.
One thing that remains unaffected by which side of the Atlantic the universities are on is that young professionals earn more if they are men than women. The current gap, the research reveals, is more than 30%.
Ivy League men earn £135,000 in salary and bonuses, while female graduates earn £91,000 – a difference of 33%.
This is marginally better though than for ex-Oxbridge young professional women – they earn £57,000 compared to the £86,000 their male peers are on, a difference of 34%.
The statistics have led emolument.com’s co-founder Alice Leguay to suggest that students should aim for the best of both worlds. “Stay in the UK to achieve a top degree and then strive to move to the US for better earnings.”
For the research, Emolument.com analysed 5,013 salaries earned by alumni of Oxford and Cambridge and eight Ivy League universities including Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale.