A new report for the Department of Education analysing the factors that influence graduate salary prospects has placed the University of Bath in its top 10 when it comes to students’ future earning potential, placing it alongside an elite group of universities.

The research, conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and involving Dr Matt Dickson from our Institute for Policy Research (IPR), analysed the extent to which degree choices both in terms of subject and university boosted earnings, taking into account prior attainment and family background of the students.

While their research finds that prior attainment and socio-economic background both matter, it also highlights that the subject you study and the university you choose are both important factors in students’ employment and earning potential.

Bath Impact

On the raw earnings ranking, it finds that Bath offers a high earnings premium, well above the average institution and is placed 5th for both men and women, below only the LSE, Imperial, Oxford and Cambridge and above all the other 20 universities in the Russell Group. For women, the average earnings premium is 38% above the average female graduate; for men, the Bath premium is 41% above the average.

Part of this is down to the high calibre of the students that Bath recruits and so the report uses sophisticated techniques to allow comparison of only students who have the same prior attainment and background characteristics to Bath’s.

When this is taken into account the report still highlights a substantial ‘Bath Impact’, when comparing like-for-like students. Our male graduates earn 22% more than average 5 years after graduating – placing us 7th; our female graduates earn 15% more than the average, placing us 8th.

Business degrees at Bath, via our School of Management, are highlighted in particular as offering an important boost to graduate salary prospects. Comparing like-for-like students, this offers a 68% earnings premium over the average degree, 5 years after graduation for men, which makes it the 10th best ranked course on this metric in the country. This is behind only a handful of Economics, Law and Business courses at the LSE, Imperial, Oxford and Cambridge plus Medicine at Liverpool. For women, the same 68% premium is seen for Business, making it the 18th highest ranked course in the country.

Career enhancing opportunities

For both men and women, three of the top four ranked courses in the South West are at the University of Bath: in addition to Business, which is top for each, Economics and Maths are in the top four courses for women, while for men it is Economics and Computing.

Professor Bernie Morley, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor and Provost said: “This DfE report is further proof of the value placed on a Bath degree by employers and evidence that our students really benefit from a Bath premium upon graduating. Taken alongside recent rankings that place us near the top for student experience, student satisfication, job prospects and graduate starting salaries, our students can be assured of first-rate teaching and career enhancing opportunities that will set them apart in the workplace.”

The University was awarded Gold status in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework, ranked 4th overall out of 122 institutions in the THE Student Experience Survey 2018, and ranked 6th best university in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2019. For our full list of recent accolades see our rankings and reputation webpages.

Co-author of the report, Dr Matt Dickson from the IPR, said: “Bath has always recruited exceptional students but this research shows that even when comparing earnings outcomes with those of other bright students with similar backgrounds who go elsewhere, Bath’s graduates earn a very high premium, well above the average graduate salary.”