- 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
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
|51.||University of Stirling||78||82||77||56||293||14,410||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.
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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