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Graduates from French Grandes écoles look underpaid alongside elite UK and US peers

You might think that attending one of France’s famous grandes écoles is your ticket to some of the best jobs education can get you. However, that ticket to prestige is not a golden ticket. Nor is it a silver ticket, either. In terms of pay at least, think more… Bronze.

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Analysis from French newspaper Les Echos showed that male graduates of grandes écoles (GE) continue to outearn female ones. What’s more, new GE graduates are doing worse than previous years, with average salaries falling.

Engineering students from the class of 2023 earned between €39k ($42k) and €37.7k ($40k) on average after graduation (depending on gender), which was 2.5% and 1% below the averages of €40k ($43k) and €38k ($41k) earned by the class of 2022, respectively.

Regardless of what years or gender is used, however, both sets of numbers pale in comparison to graduates from equally prestigious institution outside France. Based on publicly available data from Discover Uni, a UK government source, we ascertained that engineering graduates of Imperial College London earned approximately £39k (€46k), on average, 15 months after graduation.

Graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of America's top engineering and technology colleges are even better remunerated. They earned a stratospheric $127k (€118k) after graduation on average in 2023, although that figure includes all undergraduates, and isn’t just limited to engineering students. Even though salaries are generally higher in the USA, it’s still a huge difference, with the cost of living in France and the UK not being quite that much lower than in the USA.

Our 2024 salary and bonus report showed that compensation for American bankers is also higher than both European and British ones, especially early in their careers.

Grandes écoles graduates are, generally, very well represented among finance’s most prestigious institutions. When we analyzed the best master’s in finance degrees to get a job in financial services, grandes écoles had a healthy representation in the top 15 – outnumbering American universities, and on par with British ones.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon Reporter

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