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Imperial College graduates have highest earning potential once leaving uni, Adzuna reveals

Graduates from Imperial College London can expect to earn the highest salaries in their first jobs, while LSE alumni are the best at climbing the salary ladder, according to new research by Adzuna.

The study, conducted in July 2017, analysed over 155,000 CVs belonging to graduates in their first five years of post-degree work experience using Adzuna’s ValueMyCV algorithm, to show which university’s graduates can expect to make the most money in their first year after graduation and which university’s grads are best at boosting their pay.

Scholars from Imperial College London top the list with the highest earning potential in their first year after graduation, averaging £37,006 per annum, eclipsing that of graduates from all other UK universities.

Including Imperial, all of the top ten most valuable universities to have on your CV are members of the prestigious Russell Group, with graduates from Kings College London coming second in the salary stakes with an average earning potential of £32,270, followed by Oxford (£31,584), University College London (£30,935) and Cambridge (£30,679). By comparison, young workers without any degree can expect an average wage of just £21,533 per annum in the first year of their career.

However, it is graduates from the London School of Economics that climb the salary ladder quickest after leaving university, with their average pay potential growing 38% over the first five years of working, from £30,268 to £41,810. Nottingham graduates are close behind, boosting their earning potential from £26,548 to £36,558 (+38%), followed by Bournemouth grads (+35%), London Met alumni (+35%) and Durham attendees (+33%). Surprisingly, only grads from four Russell Group universities feature in the list of greatest salary climbers, suggesting non-Russell Group attendees may be better at climbing the salary ladder.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, commented, “Having a distinguished university on your CV can seriously boost your salary starting point. Imperial College London alumni are top of the pile, commanding an annual premium of around £16,000 over those with no degree. With the combined  advantages of a London location, STEM specialisms and an excellent reputation, their earning potential even outstrips Oxbridge, with salaries typically £5,500 more than Oxford grads and £6,300 higher than Cambridge grads. Studying at any Russell Group university adds serious value to earning potential, but the research also shows grads from other institutions, including Bournemouth and London Met, are better at catapulting themselves up the salary rankings.

“With almost all UK universities charging maximum tuition fees of £9,000 a year, students are rightly concerned with getting the best bang for their buck, and the current debate asking if the fees should be scrapped throws the value of higher education further into the spotlight. Degrees now come with a hefty price-tag, but while the costs of studying are largely even the earning potential of graduates is more imbalanced.”

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