Which UK universities give you the best chance of working for a Big Four Accounting Firm?

  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ranks as the best university for landing a job at a Big Four Accountancy Firm, with 2,726 graduates working for PwC, Deloitte, EY or KPMG.
  • The University of Cambridge ranks second, with 3,401 graduates employed in roles across the Big Four firms.
  • Oxford Brookes ranks third, with 2,355 graduates employed in roles across the Big Four firms.

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ranks as the best university for landing a role at a Big Four Accounting Firm (PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG) according to a new analysis of LinkedIn data.

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).

2. 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).

3. 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).

4. 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).

5. 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

RankUK UniversityPwC EmployeesDeloitte EmployeesEY EmployeesKPMG EmployeesTotalTotal 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)1,4941,7981,4771,0075,77613,45542.9%
2.University of Cambridge8931,0578446073,40122,15515.4%
3.Oxford Brookes University5635598094242,35517,79513.2%
4.Durham University7547945885662,70220,64513.1%
5.University of Lancaster4664354973341,73217,4709.9%
6.University of Warwick7618106145272,71228,1109.6%
7.University of Oxford6618565465042,56727,1509.5%
8.Queen’s University Belfast1,1494884162862,33925,3659.2%
9.University of Bath4805004063221,70818,5559.2%
10.Heriot-Watt University25527327019399111,2008.8%
11.University of Nottingham9198496256503,04335,7858.5%
12.University of St. Andrews28327620216692711,4858.1%
13.Imperial College London4575453713321,70521,3708.0%
14.University of Bristol7176555154762,36329,7857.9%
15.The University of Manchester9871,0017707293,48744,6357.8%
16.University of Birmingham8587965766672,89737,7507.7%
17.SOAS University of London116138951014505,8657.7%
18.University of Southampton4235293373081,59721,3957.5%
19.University of Leeds8817175685442,71036,8407.4%
20.Loughborough University4113792902601,34018,3357.3%
21.University of Exeter6206324674722,19130,2507.2%
22.Queen Mary University of London4155263763481,66523,8707.0%
23.University College London (UCL)8619997035443,10745,7156.8%
24.Newcastle University6604763663111,81327,7756.5%
25.University of Leicester2723252341811,01216,1006.3%
26.Royal Holloway, University of London21023716512773912,2956.0%
27.King’s College London5766995544702,29938,4456.0%
28.Ulster University9844772331611,85533,0455.6%
29.University of York3523672662381,22322,6955.4%
30.University of Sheffield4525023713121,63730,6055.3%
31.University of Kent26229724119399318,5855.3%
32.University of Reading3852992051641,05319,9805.3%
33.University of Edinburgh5595864893491,98337,8305.2%
34.University of Surrey23428721312585916,5655.2%
35.Aston University25222620416284416,7955.0%
36.University of Strathclyde3063362872731,20224,4504.9%
37.City, University of London2613442641771,04621,3254.9%
38.University of Liverpool4054082772821,37229,1854.7%
39.Cardiff University3955852552501,48533,5104.4%
40.University of Aberdeen1651641599258016,0803.6%
41.University of Glasgow3453663273011,33937,1453.6%
42.University of Sussex18921715210165919,4153.4%
43.University of East Anglia (UEA)18420112812864118,9753.4%
44.University of Hull1181321318746814,6153.2%
45.University of Essex14718113612558918,4653.2%
46.Aberystwyth University607351492338,0402.9%
47.University of Northumbria at Newcastle22021630111184831,8602.7%
48.University of Arts, London1122031318853421,1052.5%
49.Swansea University143195776648121,4652.2%
50.Keele University7359615324611,5052.1%
51.University of Stirling7882775629314,4102.0%
52.Coventry University20822819715078339,1452.0%
53.University of Dundee8985604527916,2301.7%
54.Nottingham Trent University17418113313161938,9951.6%
55.University of Huddersfield6063516223620,6101.1%
56.University of Lincoln4152463317217,5651.0%
57.University of Chester3828291811314,2100.8%
58.St George’s, University of London3738215,1850.4%
59.Harper Adams University14275,1350.1%
60.Norwich University of Arts1122,6200.1%

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.


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.

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*Article provided by: https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/spread-betting

**Article contains affiliate links


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