Top 30 European Universities With The Highest Paid Graduates by Emolument

With UK universities increasing their tuition fees, European universities outside the UK have become an even more attractive option for students. But which produce the best paid graduates?

Emolument.com has analysed 5,622 alumni’s (5-10 years’ professional experience) salaries and bonuses who graduated from a European university with a Bachelor or Masters degree. The results challenge the usual rankings with a breakthrough from Switzerland dominating other countries.The UK comes in at 5th place.

Top 30 European Universities With The Highest Paid Graduates

Table 1. Based on alumni (5-10 years’ experience) annual total pay (salary + bonus) from European Universities & Business Schools
Highest Paid Graduates

Swiss Breakthrough. Four Swiss universities hold the top spot in our league table.These prestigious institutions list alumni such as Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group, Paul Achleitner, Chairman of Deutsche Bank to name but a few [1]. With an excellent education system and thriving economy, Switzerland topping the rankings is not a huge surprise. 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.

Masters Vs Bachelors. French universities also appear high on the list. Traditionally, French students graduate with a Master’s degree. Only recently have French universities started offering Bachelor programs. 90% of respondents from French universities held a Master’s degree compared to only 50% from Oxford or Cambridge which could explain how they can demand high pay right from the start of their career.

Top 30 European Universities With The Highest Paid Graduates

Table 2. Figures from Numbeo.com

Pay indexed on cost of living. Most graduates start their career in the country in which they completed their studies. While it may seem that Swiss graduates earn 40% more than their UK peers from top universities, when adjusting for Switzerland’s 40% higher cost of living [2], the pay gap disappears.

Best return on investment? Tuition fees in most European universities are much lower than the UK. At the University of St. Gallen, tuition fees are less than £2,000 a year compared to £9,000 for most UK institutions. After obtaining a degree at St. Gallen, why not start working in the UK to benefit both from low tuition fees and avoid an expensive lifestyle in Switzerland?

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder & COO at Emolument.com 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.’

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_St._Gallen_people

[2] http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp?title=2016-mid&region=150