Swiss university graduates given world's highest starting salaries, study finds

Swiss university graduates given world's highest starting salaries, study finds

A new study by German bank and insurance firm N26 has revealed that students at Swiss universities can expect to earn the highest salaries in the world once they graduate. The firm added that not only will graduates earn more, but the low cost of higher education in Switzerland means it takes little to no time to pay off tuition.

Education Price Index by N26

In the latest Education Price Index, N26 analysed which universities around the world offer the best value for money. To create the ranking, the company looked at how much it costs to study six different subjects (medicine, nursing, law, civil engineering, software development and teaching) at universities around the world, and compared the cost to how much students from each nation earn once graduated.

N26 used this information to calculate how long it takes for students to pay off their tuition fees. When all these factors are combined with a university score - calculated by combining the Times Higher Education and QS university rankings - they are able to tell which country's universities offer the best deal.

Swiss universities provide the highest graduate salaries

In the latest study, Swiss universities were ranked as offering the best bang for your buck when it comes to income after studies. In 2022, they noted that not only does the alpine nation provide the fourth highest standard of education for the 11th lowest price, but graduate salaries are also the highest in the world. 

N26 found that Swiss graduates earn a starting salary of 78.800 Swiss francs a year on average, 20.000 francs a year more than graduates in the second-place country, the United States. After 10 years on the job, alumni can expect a salary of 142.620 Swiss francs a year on average, the highest in the world and 30.000 francs more than graduates in the US, which placed second again.

Switzerland takes the top spot across all sectors

When it comes to specific roles, the study found that while tuition to become a doctor in Switzerland costs an average 7.368 Swiss francs a year, average salaries for medical practitioners hover around 195.375 Swiss francs a year - the highest in the world. The alpine nation also came top when it came to graduate nurses (4.689 annual tuition versus 79.256-franc average salary), lawyers (6.029 to 155.098), civil engineers (6.029 to 92.321), software engineers (4.689 to 104.074) and teachers (6.698 to 76.816).

In fact, if the cost of student housing and other living expenses are discounted, N26 estimates that it only takes a year for Swiss graduates to pay off their tuition. This is in contrast to Jamaica, the United States and Russia, where it takes an average of 28, 19 and 17 years to pay off tuition fees respectively - despite high incomes, average tuition fees in the US are the highest in the world at 26.428 Swiss francs a year.

Which countries offer the highest salaries to graduates?

In all, here are the countries that offer the highest salaries for graduates:

  1. Switzerland (79.800)
  2. United States (58.019)
  3. Denmark (50.787)
  4. Australia (49.814)
  5. Belgium (49.427)
  6. Hong Kong (48.477)
  7. Canada (46.677)
  8. Iceland (46.533)
  9. Wales (45.674)
  10. Northern Ireland (45.035)

For more information about how the study was calculated, and to see how other nations faired on the list, check out the N26 website.

Thumb image credit: Mikadun /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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