How much is your first job worth to you?

Some graduates have great financial expectations for their first job: others have more modest ambitions. It all depends on where you live.

Well, if you were in Switzerland you’d be expecting a lot more. Twice as much more, in fact.

And if you were in China? You’d be happy with a quarter of that.

An international survey of students conducted by Universum, an employer branding consultancy, shows that across the world graduates’ hopes of what they can earn vary from a high of £48K pa (Switzerland) to £5K pa (China).

This doesn’t mean they’ll get the money, by the way, although it’s an indication of what graduates in those countries expect they'll see when they open their first payslip.

The question asked of nearly 225,000 students working across degree disciplines (including engineering, IT, natural sciences, law, business and humanities) in universities across the planet was: "What is your expected annual salary before taxes (excluding commission and bonus) at your first employer after graduation?"

And here are the answers (in Sterling):

1) Switzerland: £48,092

2) Denmark: £43,134

3) Norway: £38,686

4) Germany: £34,171

5) US: £29,822

6) Finland: £29,025

7) France: £28,396

8) Sweden: £28,318

9) Austria: £25,771

10) Netherlands: £24,936

11) UK: £22,195

12) Spain: £20,076

13) Italy: £16,580

14) Poland:£8,980

15) Russia: £7,885

16) China: £5,049

The mean salary from that lot was £25,705 per annum. Which means that grads in the UK expect less than the average – perhaps an indication that the recession has made them lower their sights.

Next month, we’ll look at the reality of what you really could earn – and how easy it is to get a job depending on which part of the world you live.

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