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Jobs & Careers

Universities with the highest graduate salaries

Find out if your university has made the top 10 in the UK according to graduate salary.

graduate hats in the air with pound signs

Credit: hxdbzxy, DeawSS – Shutterstock

When choosing where to study, don't just look at the overall rankings of the top universities in the UK.

While it's important to focus on the course offerings, the location, the universities facilities, or the prestige of the institution, eventually, you will have to start thinking about what you want to do afterwards. And that involves thinking about money.

Employability, careers services, and how likely you are to land a great job are therefore often high up on the list of priorities for many prospective students.

To help students decide which university will give them the professional boost they're after, the University Admission Center UK (UACUK) has ranked universities based on graduate salaries, and we've got the top 10 for you!

Top 10 graduate earnings by university

Here are the best universities for graduate earnings:

  1. Imperial College London – £33,500
  2. London School of Economics – £32,000
  3. Cambridge University – £30,100
  4. University College London (UCL) – £30,000
  1. Oxford University – £30,000
  1. King's College London – £29,000
  1. St George's University of London – £29,000
  1. Warwick University – £29,000
  1. Bath University – £28,500
  2. Bristol University – £28,000

UACUK used the average course salary data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to calculate the median graduate salary for each UK university.

The figures above show a general idea of what university graduates can earn after completing their course, but keep in mind that salaries can vary widely depending on what subject you studied.

Imperial College London has beaten many celebrated universities to bag first place on this particular graduate salary list.

The list differs quite a bit from the Complete University Guide (CUG) university rankings (which lists the top 10 universities in the UK), with just over half of the institutions making it into both lists.

Notably, the likes of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the University of St Andrews and Durham University fail to make the top 10 for graduate salaries completely.

Salaries also vary widely depending on your job and degree – we have a guide to the average graduate salary for different industries.

Why do some graduates earn more than others?


Another interesting feature of the results is geography. This league table consists mainly of universities in the south of England, which is likely to be because there are more jobs with higher salaries in London and the surrounding areas.

All but one of the top 10 institutions are broadly located in the south, with Loughborough (East Midlands) the only exception. There are no universities from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland in this list.

Despite this, there are still loads of graduate jobs for you to apply to with locations in every corner of the UK. Don't let the rankings put you off!

You should also remember that these numbers don't tell the full story, and many graduates will earn more or less than the figures above.

What's more, these are only the salaries that students are earning six months after graduation. Often they will increase in the following years as graduates get promoted, finish training, and have more of an idea of what they want to do.

How to choose the right university for you

Choosing where to go to university can feel stressful, and sometimes it's difficult to know where to start.

The best way to begin is to write a list of what is important to you when it comes to university. Everyone has slightly different preferences.

Examples of factors include the overall university ranking, the ranking of your chosen course, the modules on offer, the facilities, the location, the surrounding area, the societies, and even the price. Employment prospects are, of course, a consideration too.

If you can get to a university open day, they are the best way to gauge whether or not you should apply to that university. Sometimes places seem good on paper, but look and feel totally different once you're there!

Then when graduation is looming, you have another choice to make: what to do next?

Graduate salaries will often come into the mix, but it definitely isn't the only factor you should consider when thinking about your career after university.

Consider what you want to do on a day-to-day basis, what you enjoy, where your skills lie and what your values are. Are factors like employee benefits and location important to you?

This guide to graduate schemes might help you make a start, but remember that there are also many alternatives to graduate schemes.

You might even choose to see the world after finishing university, but don't feel as though you're harming your career prospects – travelling can get you a job too!

To increase your chances of landing the perfect graduate job, make sure you check out our guide to writing the perfect CV.


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