Report suggests graduate salaries linked to university and subject choice

The average starting salary of graduates from universities in the Sutton Trust 13, including the University of York, is 17 per cent higher than graduates from post-1992 universities

A study conducted by the Sutton Trust has revealed a correlation between graduates’ starting salaries and the university they attended, as well as the subject they studied.



Graduates from Oxford or Cambridge receive average starting salaries of around £7,6000 (42 per cent) higher per year than those who graduated from post-1992 universities, including Manchester Metropolitan, Nottingham Trent and Leeds Beckett universities.

A significant wage gap also appears between Oxbridge graduates and those from other high-performing and selective UK universities. Graduates from the other universities in the Sutton Trust 13, branded as “the most selective universities in the UK”, earn starting salaries of approximately £3,3000 (15 per cent) less than those graduating from Oxbridge.

However, students from universities which make up the Sutton Trust 13 earned on average £4,300 (17 per cent) per year more than those from post-1992 universities three and a half years after graduating.

The University of York is one of the members of the Sutton Trust 13, which also includes the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

According to the University of York, the average salary for alumni working in graduate employment was £27,085.

As well as differences depending on university attended, the research reveals large differences in starting salaries based on the subject studied. On average, students who do Engineering and Computer Science courses earn 55 per cent (£8,000) more than design and creative arts graduates six months after graduating.

The report also found that degrees in Medicine, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering and Technology led to the highest starting salary, whereas subjects such as Psychology, History, Philosophy and English ranked among the lowest.

The large differences in earnings revealed in the Sutton Trust report were persistent even after accounting for factors such as a student’s background, academic history and attainment, although the earnings gap did decrease. With these factors taken into account, Oxbridge graduates will start on an average salary which is £4,800 higher than post-1992 group university graduates, and £2,500 more than graduates from the Sutton Trust 13 universities.

However, the report does not take into account factors such as students commencing employment with entry-level jobs, or students who are unemployed or undertaking unpaid internships following graduation.

In terms of schooling, graduates who completed their pre-university education at fee-paying secondary schools earned on average £1,300 more than those educated at state schools.

The Sutton Trust is a foundation with a focus on improving social mobility through education and was established in 1987. The research conducted by the Sutton Trust was based on an analysis of graduate surveys conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


  1. 21 Dec ’14 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks captain obvious.


    You mean that people might get paid differently depending on what they study, where they study and who they are?

    Please, enlighten us more grace.


  2. “According to the University of York, the average salary for alumni working in graduate employment was £27,085.”

    Skillfully discounting the 90% (not an exaggeration, that’s around about the national figure) who don’t go on to get a graduate job and therefore earn much less. Only people I know earning over £25k are engineers, graduate job or not.


  3. 11 Jan ’15 at 10:04 pm

    no shit sherlock

    what a startling discover


  4. 14 Jan ’15 at 10:53 pm

    Maximilian Cash

    I graduated one year ago and earn £42k. The trick is to not have Aspergers like so many of my classmates.