Oxford and Cambridge have a particular relationship. The UK’s two oldest and most famous universities usually occupy the top two positions in any ranking list compiled of Britain’s universities. Between the two of them, they have produced 41 Prime Ministers. The question remains, which of Oxford and Cambridge sets you up better for life?


Using the anonymous salary, office hours and contentedness data of 1500 Payspective.com respondents we looked at how the two compare to see which sets its graduates up better.



Material Comforts


What was most shocking was that Oxford alumni earn a mean combined salary and bonus of 17% less than Cambridge graduates after 7 years in the workplace. This difference is driven by wildly different base salaries rather than bonuses. In fact, Cambridge graduates actually received bonuses that were 7.5% smaller on average than their Oxford counterparts.


Despite this impressive salary gap, Oxford graduates are working noticeably longer hours. Oxford alumni work 51 hours a week on average compared to 48 hours worked by each Cambridge graduate in a normal week. Cambridge’s alumni were working marginally less than the Russell Group mean of 48.5 hours; which is impressive given their position as the best-paid alumni.


People who say that money can’t buy happiness just don’t know where to shop…


Most importantly, there is very little difference in terms of happiness at work. Cambridge alumni are 2% happier than the Russell Group mean, while Oxford graduates sit 2% below the average. For contrast, the happiest alumni group at work was that from Manchester, who were 11% happier than the mean value. While neither are top performers for enjoyment of work, Cambridge alumni hold a significant lead here too.
That said, Oxford alumni take more days of holiday than Cambridge graduates, disappearing for 27 days on average each year, as compared to 24. I suppose we’ve got to claw them back on something!


The end result? One disappointed Oxford graduate


Having spent my entire university career insisting the opposite, it appears Cambridge does indeed develop better-rounded workers. Earning more, working less and, most importantly, enjoying work more makes for a powerful argument that light blue is, in fact, the best blue.

– by Adam

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