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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Study reveals the universities that give you the best chance of working for a top accounting firm

A new analysis of LinkedIn data has revealed which UK universities offer the best chance of landing a job at one of the Big Four Accounting Firms, by examining where each company’s employees most frequently attended university.

As undergraduates return for their final year of university this September, many will have their mind set on a career with some of the UK’s largest and most reputable graduate employers.

However, as places for these graduate roles become more competitive, many will be wondering how their university stacks up in terms of career prospects.

Online trading platform and broker CMC Markets, analysed LinkedIn data for the Big Four Accounting Firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY) and KPMG, to see where their current employees most commonly attended university.

The analysis looked at the UK’s top 60 universities, including all 24 that are members of the Russell Group, to see which universities have the most graduates working for a Big Four Accounting Firm. The figures were also calculated as a proportion of each university’s enrolment size, based on student enrolment for the 2020/21 academic year according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

  1. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – 5,776 graduates (42.9% of enrolment size) 

LSE ranks as the best university in the UK to attend if you want to pursue a career at the Big Four, with a total of 5,776 university graduates currently employed across these firms. When accounting for the number of students enrolled in a typical academic year at LSE, this works out at 42.9% of the total enrolment size. Despite LSE’s modest population of just 13,455 students, it ranks top for each of the four firms, with the most alumni in current roles at PwC (1,494), Deloitte (1,798), EY (1,477) and KPMG (1,007).  

  1. University of Cambridge – 3,401 graduates (15.4% of enrolment size)  

The University of Cambridge offers the second-best chance of securing a role at the Big Four, with 3,401 graduates currently employed across the four firms. Cambridge ranked highly for all four firms, most notably having the second most alumni for both Deloitte and EY behind LSE. The percentage of graduates working for a Big Four firm works out at 15.4% of the total enrolment size at the university – which is 22,155 students. University of Cambridge alumni are split as follows across the four firms: PwC (893), Deloitte (1,057), EY (844) and KPMG (607).

  1. Oxford Brookes University – 2,355 graduates (13.2% of enrolment size) 

Oxford Brookes University places third, with 2,355 graduates employed in roles across the four firms. When considering the total number of alumni across the Big Four, Oxford Brookes ranks a respectable 12th in the list, however when accounting for the university population size of 17,795 students, it ranks as the third best university for Big Four employment outcomes. Oxford Brookes alumni are split as follows; PwC (563), Deloitte (559), EY (809) and KPMG (424).

  1. Durham University – 2,702 graduates (13.1% of enrolment size) 

Durham University places fourth, with 2,702 graduates employed in roles across the four firms. Despite having a greater number of graduates overall in roles at the Big Four than Oxford Brookes University, when accounting for Durham University’s larger population of 20,645 students, this works out at 13.1% of the enrolment size of the university. Durham’s graduates are split as follows; PwC (754), Deloitte (794), EY (588) and KPMG (566).  

  1. University of Lancaster – 1,732 graduates (9.9% of enrolment size) 

The University of Lancaster places fifth, with 1,732 graduates employed in roles across the Big Four firms – equivalent to 9.9% of its total student population of 17,470. Of the four companies, Lancaster sees more of its graduates in roles at EY according to LinkedIn, with 497 alumni working for the company.

University ranking by percentage of alumni who list themselves on LinkedIn as working for a Big Four firm 

Rank  UK University  PwC Employees  Deloitte Employees  EY Employees  KPMG Employees  Total  Total student enrolment (for the 20/21 academic year)  Number of alumni working at The Big Four as a percentage of current enrolment size   
 

1.

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 1,494 1,798 1,477 1,007 5,776 13,455 42.9%
2. University of Cambridge 893 1,057 844 607 3,401 22,155 15.4%
3. Oxford Brookes University 563 559 809 424 2,355 17,795 13.2%
4. Durham University 754 794 588 566 2,702 20,645 13.1%
5. University of Lancaster 466 435 497 334 1,732 17,470 9.9%
6. University of Warwick 761 810 614 527 2,712 28,110 9.6%
7. University of Oxford 661 856 546 504 2,567 27,150 9.5%
8. Queen’s University Belfast 1,149 488 416 286 2,339 25,365 9.2%
9. University of Bath 480 500 406 322 1,708 18,555 9.2%
10. Heriot-Watt University 255 273 270 193 991 11,200 8.8%
11. University of Nottingham 919 849 625 650 3,043 35,785 8.5%
12. University of St. Andrews 283 276 202 166 927 11,485 8.1%
13. Imperial College London 457 545 371 332 1,705 21,370 8.0%
14. University of Bristol 717 655 515 476 2,363 29,785 7.9%
15. The University of Manchester 987 1,001 770 729 3,487 44,635 7.8%
16. University of Birmingham 858 796 576 667 2,897 37,750 7.7%
17. SOAS University of London 116 138 95 101 450 5,865 7.7%
18. University of Southampton 423 529 337 308 1,597 21,395 7.5%
19. University of Leeds 881 717 568 544 2,710 36,840 7.4%
20. Loughborough University 411 379 290 260 1,340 18,335 7.3%
21. University of Exeter 620 632 467 472 2,191 30,250 7.2%
22. Queen Mary University of London 415 526 376 348 1,665 23,870 7.0%
23. University College London (UCL) 861 999 703 544 3,107 45,715 6.8%
24. Newcastle University 660 476 366 311 1,813 27,775 6.5%
25. University of Leicester 272 325 234 181 1,012 16,100 6.3%
26. Royal Holloway, University of London 210 237 165 127 739 12,295 6.0%
27. King’s College London 576 699 554 470 2,299 38,445 6.0%
28. Ulster University 984 477 233 161 1,855 33,045 5.6%
29. University of York 352 367 266 238 1,223 22,695 5.4%
30. University of Sheffield 452 502 371 312 1,637 30,605 5.3%
31. University of Kent 262 297 241 193 993 18,585 5.3%
32. University of Reading 385 299 205 164 1,053 19,980 5.3%
33. University of Edinburgh 559 586 489 349 1,983 37,830 5.2%
34. University of Surrey 234 287 213 125 859 16,565 5.2%
35. Aston University 252 226 204 162 844 16,795 5.0%
36. University of Strathclyde 306 336 287 273 1,202 24,450 4.9%
37. City, University of London 261 344 264 177 1,046 21,325 4.9%
38. University of Liverpool 405 408 277 282 1,372 29,185 4.7%
39. Cardiff University 395 585 255 250 1,485 33,510 4.4%
40. University of Aberdeen 165 164 159 92 580 16,080 3.6%
41. University of Glasgow 345 366 327 301 1,339 37,145 3.6%
42. University of Sussex 189 217 152 101 659 19,415 3.4%
43. University of East Anglia (UEA) 184 201 128 128 641 18,975 3.4%
44. University of Hull 118 132 131 87 468 14,615 3.2%
45. University of Essex 147 181 136 125 589 18,465 3.2%
46. Aberystwyth University 60 73 51 49 233 8,040 2.9%
47. University of Northumbria at Newcastle 220 216 301 111 848 31,860 2.7%
48. University of Arts, London 112 203 131 88 534 21,105 2.5%
49. Swansea University 143 195 77 66 481 21,465 2.2%
50. Keele University 73 59 61 53 246 11,505 2.1%
51. University of Stirling 78 82 77 56 293 14,410 2.0%
52. Coventry University 208 228 197 150 783 39,145 2.0%
53. University of Dundee 89 85 60 45 279 16,230 1.7%
54. Nottingham Trent University 174 181 133 131 619 38,995 1.6%
55. University of Huddersfield 60 63 51 62 236 20,610 1.1%
56. University of Lincoln 41 52 46 33 172 17,565 1.0%
57. University of Chester 38 28 29 18 113 14,210 0.8%
58. St George’s, University of London 3 7 3 8 21 5,185 0.4%
59. Harper Adams University 1 4 2 7 5,135 0.1%
60. Norwich University of Arts 1 1 2 2,620 0.1%

The study was conducted by CMC Markets, a UK-based financial services company that offers online derivative trading such as spread betting and contracts for difference across world markets such as shares and foreign exchange.

Disclaimer: 

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. The vast majority of retail client accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://businesslancashire.co.uk/
Sam Allcock is a highly regarded digital entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in online marketing for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has extensive knowledge and experience in SEO and digital marketing. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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