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Students will graduate sooner but having paid a greater tuition per year Photo: Jebulon @ Wikimedia Commons

Russell Group graduates earn 40 per cent more after graduation

New figures obtained from the BBC suggest that graduates of Russell Group universities earn on average 40 per cent more than those who studied at other higher education institutions.

Graduates of the London School of Economics topped the list, closely followed by the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, all with average annual earnings of over £40,000 five years after graduation.

The statistics from the Institute of Fiscal Studies show that where you get your degree can greatly affect your earnings in the future. As hundreds of thousands of young people across the UK make their choices for 2018 entry higher education, the research may be critical in assisting their decisions.

The research also highlighted differences in earnings between subjects studied. Medicine and dentistry students tend to earn the most five years after graduation, with an average salary of £46,700. Further down the list are graduates of creative arts (£20,100) and agriculture (£22,000).

However, it is important to note that the schools with graduates with the lowest average income after five years were also those that specialised in typically lower-earning degrees, such as drama schools and art schools.

There was also a focus on men’s earnings in comparison to women’s, with the figures revealing that immediately after graduation men tend to earn 8 per cent more than women, with this number rising to 14 per cent five years later.

The figures come after six investigations by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committees of Advertising Practice into reportedly false advertising claims by UK universities, including claims such as being in the “top 1 per cent worldwide.” In response, guidelines have been supplied to universities with the aim of avoiding more misleading claims in the future.

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, stated that “misleading would-be students is not only unfair, it can also lead them to make choices that aren’t right for them”.

With increasing competition between institutions, some may feel pressured to appeal to both UK students and potentially lucrative international students, many of whom choose to come to the UK to study. The numbers of league tables and rankings available, all based on different areas of student life, are so vast that it can be difficult to know which ones are reliable; universities can use this to their advantage, picking and choosing the rankings which represent them in the best light.

It is also suggested that many of these rankings lack solid evidence. The Higher Education Policy Institute described a “touch of the Wild West” about the current intensity of competition in the UK.

The ASA have stated their confidence that universities are likely to comply with their new guidelines, rather than face further “bad publicity”.

Tags: advertising, earnings, graduation, Russell Group, university, wages

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Deputy Editor of The Mancunion
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