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Is the British economy relying on foreign graduates?


The UK, London especially, have always attracted a large number of highly skilled foreign graduates, frustrated by the economic outlook in their own country and fiscal policy, where their skills are in high demand - namely in maths, engineering, IT, and finance-related careers.


We've analysed data from 32,000 graduates from some of the best paying universities, working in the UK to show just how desirable these graduates are to British employers and how much of a premium their degrees carry.


Sectors with the highest proportion of graduates from foreign universities

Activity % of graduates from foreign universities Foreign universities* British Universities* Pay difference
Finance 28% 65,000 50,000 +30%
Compliance  20% 43,000 38,500 +11%
Data Analysis & Data Science 18% 40,000 30,000 +30%
IT & Software Development 17% 40,000 34,000 +18%

*Median compensation (salary+ bonus) of junior employees (0-4 years of experience)


The British economy needs foreign graduates, and is prepared to pay for it:

Some technical sectors show a substantial shortage of British graduates (Finance, Data Analysis) in which employers are prepared to step up and to offer salaries as much as 30% above market to those highly skilled graduates with degrees from non-British universities.


Sectors with the lowest proportion of graduates from foreign universities

Activity % of graduates from foreign universities Foreign universities* British Universities* Pay difference
Media 9% 30,000 27,000 +11%
Architecture, Real Estate 9% 30,000 28,000 +9%
Education 5% 27,000 28,000 -2%
 

*Median compensation (salary+ bonus) of junior employees (0-4 years of experience)


The UK's earning pulling power:

Lowest-paid jobs upon graduation and early professional life (Media, Education & Real Estate) show the fewest foreign graduates for instance only 5% in Education. It may be due to the fact that jobs in the Media or in Education require subtle and flawless written and spoken English, while language skills in more technical sectors such as banking and IT are not central to being a successful professional. Despite this however, prestige attached to some foreign degrees pays off even in those industries with foreign graduates earning more than British graduates (+11% for media professionals).


The pay gap: a reflection of a London/hinterland gap?

Over 90% of graduates with a degree from a foreign university work in London as opposed to the rest of the UK, where salaries are lower. This uneven spread across the UK territory is likely to be one of the causes of the pay gap between foreigners and British graduates, with London providing a high concentration of the highest-paying jobs.


Two-way system

18% of British university graduates work abroad which goes to show that UK graduates enjoy working abroad as much as their non-UK counterparts.


Many European graduates see the UK as an ideal location to kick off their careers: flexible career paths (where else can a History degree land you in a finance job?), a vibrant technological and entrepreneurial sector as well as fiscal incentives are all part of making the UK a land of opportunities. Equally, UK employers are keen to bring in highly skilled graduates as they struggle to find appropriately qualified staff in the UK due to a decline in science and maths education over the last 10 years.

 

Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.


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