When you take the decision to attend university, one of the main things you will want to do is to make sure you have a fair chance of getting a good job when you get to the end of your course. With this in mind, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at the top universities for graduate salaries, and we have put together some examples of the highest ranked institutions.

#1 The Open University

Surprisingly, the highest ranked for graduate salary is The Open University – which isn’t a physical university at all. The median salary here is £26,373, which is almost £2,000 higher than second place. Computing & IT holds the spot for the highest paying course. It may be that those who study with the OU approach their study from a slightly different angle, with the focus being on the academics rather than the social side of study, therefore accounting for the higher salary.

#2 University of London

In second place is the University of London, with a median salary of £24,453. Civil Engineering holds first place for highest paid course graduates here, and it is likely that the location of the university has a lot to do with its place in the rankings. Graduates may stay in the city to work after graduation, where salaries are higher than elsewhere anyway. This won’t be the sole factor, but it is one to consider.

#9 University of Cambridge

Anyone who knows anything about universities knows that Cambridge is one of the most prestigious in the country – however this doesn’t match up with its place in the graduate salary table. Although #9 is still a high ranking, it would seem to show that perhaps prestige doesn’t count for everything once outside of academia.

#10 London School of Economics

LSE is an incredibly prestigious university where economics is concerned, and as such it has secured its place in the top 10 for graduate pay. Once again, it is likely that many graduates will have been based in London, where pay will be higher, however this is not the only contributing factor.

How to improve your chances of a higher salary

When you are studying for your degree, it can be easy to get carried away with academia, and the general university experience. Although it’s good to live in the moment sometimes, you still need to ensure that you’re ready for life after graduation – as it can be daunting to enter the world of work for the first time. Here are some tips about how to improve your starting salary.

- Achieve strong results

The degree that you gain may help you to stand out from other candidates, so it is important that you do as well as possible – particularly if you have studied for modules that link directly with your career plan upon graduation.

- Make key contacts in the industry

During university, you may get the chance to listen to lectures by guest speakers, or attend workshops held by people already working in the industry. This is a great way to make contacts, and make the first tentative steps into thinking about what might happen after graduation.

- Get work experience

Lots of job roles now require experience, and this means that you will need to do something at the same time as studying for your degree. Unpaid experience might not seem enticing, but having it on your CV could make a big difference.

- Be as well-rounded as possible

These days, employers don’t just want someone who can do the job. They want someone who can be a key part of the organisation in different ways, and a great way to prove you are this person is to be well rounded. This could be by taking part in different events, or joining societies at university – but you need to have something that you can talk about in your interview other than your academic skills.

There is no doubt that holding a degree from certain universities will help to improve your chances of a decent starting salary, however it isn’t by any means the only factor. By taking all of the above into account, you should have the best possible chance of being awarded a starting salary that you will be pleased with.