Earning by degrees: differences in career outcomes of UK graduates

Document type
De Vries, Robert
Sutton Trust
Date of publication
1 December 2014
Education and Skills, Employment
Social welfare
Material type

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This report examines differences in early career earnings between graduates depending on the university they attended and the subject they studied, using data from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education Survey. The results show that there are large variations in outcomes for graduates depending on their university and degree subject. Graduates from Oxford and Cambridge enjoy starting salaries approximately £7,600 (42%) higher per year, on average, than graduates from post-1992 universities. They also earn starting salaries approximately £3,300 higher than graduates from other highly selective Sutton Trust 13 (ST13) universities. Differences by subject are even more substantial, with graduates from medicine and dentistry courses (the highest earning subject) earning starting salaries approximately £12,200 higher than those studying design and creative arts (the lowest earning subjects). Engineering and technology (the second highest earning subject) graduates earn on average £8,800 higher than design and creative arts grad