Edinburgh finance graduates highest paid after Oxbridge

Edinburgh University's Old College. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh University's Old College. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Graduates from Edinburgh University who enter finance earn the highest wages after those from Oxford and Cambridge, a study has revealed.

They earn about £84,000 a year including bonus, according to salary benchmarking site, Emolument. Cambridge graduates working in finance topped the table with a typical wage of £91,000, while those with a degree from Oxford moving into the industry generally take home salary plus bonus of around £85,000.

We are a highly targeted university in terms of employers wanting to talk to students

Lizzie Mortimer

Edinburgh is the largest financial services centre in the UK outside of London and the fourth largest in Europe – and boasts headquarters of major finance firms including Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows.

Emolument compared the salaries of graduates going into finance for analysts and associates from different universities. The report found that the average salary for analysts and associates across all universities is £62,000 for the UK and Ireland. The same study carried out in the US found that graduates earn an average salary of £85,000 ($130,000) in the finance sector.

Alice Leguay from Emolument.com said: “Counter-intuitively, the top universities for finance are not necessarily the ones with a reputation for being business-focused, but historical, red-brick institutions.

“It seems UK recruiters are less concerned about vocational course content, giving more weight to a university’s reputation and prestige.”

But she added that universities which offered vocational qualifications were becoming increasingly valuable to employers.

“Over the years, though, as finance has become more complex and required a higher proportion of employees to be versed in IT, financial engineering and economics, vocational technical and scientific degrees have climbed up in the return on investment charts – Imperial College London is a good example,” she said. “We expect to see this trend intensify in the coming years.”

Lizzie Mortimer, careers consultant at the University of Edinburgh Careers Service, said the institution had long performed strongly in providing employees for the finance sector.

“I should imagine it’s a combination of location – Edinburgh is a financial centre where there are jobs available for graduates – but also the fact that the University of Edinburgh is a very high perfoming university and our graduates tend to be very successful and higher performing in their careers,” she said.

She said a career in finance was a popular choice for students, not just those studying business, but across the university – with many would-be employers visiting the university to recruit.

“We are a highly targeted university in terms of employers wanting to come on campus and talk to students,” she added.