The Cost of Top Talent in Europe

The Cost of Top Talent in Europe

Europe consists of about 50 countries, so your business can expect a lot of variety when hiring professionals. Knowing how much today’s students expect to earn could help you make important decisions about establishing your business in Europe.

Expected Pay of European College Students


Business students in Europe have pay expectations that vary from country to country. According to the Universum talent survey, business students in Switzerland have the highest expectations. They believe they will earn about € 73,614 in the first jobs after graduation. Norway’s students have the second-highest pay expectation at € 52,692, and Denmark’s have the third-highest at € 51,738.

The countries with the lowest salary expectations are Russia (€8,574) and Ukraine (€4,754).


Engineering students expect to earn higher salaries than those attending business school. In Switzerland, engineering students expect to earn about € 75,070 in their first professional jobs. Norway’s engineering students expect to make €56,133 and Denmark’s expect to earn €54,070.

The lowest salary expectations come from engineering students in Russia (€9,193) and Ukraine (€4,715).

Expected Earnings and Costs of Living

These earnings expectations make sense within the socioeconomic framework of each country. Switzerland and Norway, for instance, have two of the highest costs of living in the world. Russia has a relatively low cost of living, and Ukraine’s is between 40% and 50% of the worldwide median.

Gender Pay Gap by Country

On average, women in Europe earn 16.4% less than their male colleagues. The specific pay gap, however, varies by country. At 30%, Estonia has Europe’s widest pay gap, followed by Austria (23.4%) and Germany (22.4%).

Some countries have smaller pay gaps. The gap in Slovenia, for instance, is just 2.5%. Other countries with low pay gaps include Malta (6.1%) and Italy (6.1%) according to the European Commission.