Women face pay gap just one year after graduation

Women face pay gap just one year after graduation

Government figures say men more likely to have higher pay than women who graduated in the same subjects in the same year

Women face a pay gap as early as their first year after university that widens as time passes, according to the first large-scale set of data on the careers of British graduates published by the government.

The figures showed that men were more likely to have higher pay than women who graduated in the same year with degrees in the same subjects, with the sole exception of English – the only subject where women graduates outdid their male peers five years after leaving university.

Women who studied veterinary science experienced the widest gap, earning about half as much as their male counterparts. Even in nursing, a course dominated by women students, men were still earning about £2,000 more just a year after graduation.

But the gender pay gap varied between institutions and subjects. In law, one of the more highly paid disciplines, graduates from Oxford and Essex bucked the trend with women earning higher pay than men five years after starting work.

The educational outcomes data married the government’s tax and benefits databases to the educational records of British schools and universities, producing a mountain of raw material for researchers to examine the effects of subject course and institution on future careers.

“Across all universities and courses, official figures show that graduates in the UK are still more likely to be in employment. On average, they continue to earn substantially more than non-graduates,” said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Universities UK lobby group. “However, graduate salaries are not the only measure of success in higher education. Many students seek rewarding careers where high salaries are not their only motivation.”

The publication followed an earlier release that detailed earnings by subject. But the figures are the first to allow a detailed breakdown by institution, sex and subject group, using pay data for one, three and five years since graduation.

Overall, the figures showed that the most highly paid graduates were those with high A-level grades, clustered in universities in and around London and the south of England, especially London’s Imperial College, London School of Economics (LSE) and University College London, along with Oxford and Cambridge.

But among the high earners were graduates from the University of Bath, who appeared to have done better than those from many older and more distinguished institutions such as Leeds or Durham.

Higher education leaders including Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the Million Plus group of modern institutions, warned that the raw data was potentially misleading because it failed to include mature students and earnings data for self-employed workers.

The figures also failed to account for student characteristics such as ethnicity and deprivation, or for prior attainment other than A-levels for students in England. It also failed to adjust earnings figures for graduates by location, which will have helped universities whose graduates work in or around London.

LSE economics graduates could boast some of the highest salaries recorded in the figures, with a peak of £120,000 – although LSE graduates’ median earnings were behind those of the lower profile Birkbeck College, whose graduates earned an average of £60,000 five years after graduation.

As an example of the perverse results thrown up by the earnings tables, graduates from the prestigious Royal Academy of Music trailed well behind in the creative arts and design subject category with earnings of £13,000 a year. Meanwhile, the highest average earnings went to Bournemouth graduates, ahead of those from Oxford and Durham.

The same figures also suggested creative arts and design was among the lowest-paid subject groups, although the data is missing the high percentage of creative arts graduates who are self-employed.

The figures also some revealing gaps between the earnings of graduates from the research-intensive Russell Group of universities and those from other institutions. In the physical sciences subject category, Russell Group graduates from Liverpool, Sheffield and Queen Mary universities on average earned less than the British median, while those from Leicester, Bath and the Open University did better than average.

“We know employers value our graduates. These figures suggest that they are willing to pay a premium for them too. Russell Group graduates benefit from high average incomes after they leave university,” said Tim Bradshaw, the Russell Group’s acting director.

Original Source – Richard Adams, The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/14/women-face-pay-gap-just-one-year-after-graduation

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