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Pay gap between female and male graduates continues to be evident

Posted by: Anna Green


It comes as no surprise that in some roles, women are still being paid less than men.

What you may not know however, is that female graduates earn up to £8000 less than their male counterparts in a career, even if they completed the same degree, at the same institute, at the same time.

This gender pay gap amongst graduates has remained unchanged since the 1990's.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies released a study showing that the hourly wages of female employees in Britain are around 18% lower than men’s on average, having been 23% lower in 2003 and 28% in 1993. “The gap between the hourly pay of higher educated men and women has not closed at all in the last 20 years. The reduction in the overall pay gap has been the result of more women becoming highly educated, and a decline in the wage gap amongst the lowest educated.” Robert Joyce, the associate director at IFS has said.

In a 2012 study commissioned by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit and carried out by the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment, the salaries of more than 17,000 recent graduates were analysed. Results showed that despite the push to minimise this gap through equal opportunities laws and efforts, 1 in 5 men are paid more than £30,000 after their degree, compared with just 8% of women who earn the same. This gap is still evident even if both genders have exactly the same qualifications.

Other findings of the study showed that:

- Female law graduates can expect to earn 28% less than men at the start of their careers

- Women in medicine earned 9% less than men

- In the educational sector women were paid 4.3% less than men

Another interesting result of the study showed that subjects also had gender divides; for example, 13% of male graduates analysed applied for engineering courses, compared to just 2% of females, and that 10% of males graduated in maths or computer sciences compared to only 2.1% of women in these areas.

Both studies found that one reason for this gap could include motherhood amongst younger female graduates. “Understanding that lack of progression is going to be crucial in reducing the gender wage gap.” Joyce said. Maternity leave sees women spending less time on work, and this contributes significantly towards career progression upon returning.

In order to reduce this gap, companies concerned should join voluntary initiatives such as Think, Act, Report, which works to improve gender equality at work, as well as addressing wages and other work-place issues.

Women are also being encouraged to educate themselves about their rights and gender equality in the workplace.

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