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Gender pay gap: female graduates earn less than male counterparts

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On average, female graduates earn £1,400 a year less than their male peers. With STEM jobs actually paying women more, how can businesses close the graduate gender pay gap?

Starting salaries for male graduates are significantly higher than those of their female peers.

According to analysis of, of the 57 degree subjects which had sufficient data, men were paid a higher salary in 32 areas. Some eight subjects had a pay gap of over £2,000, with the average difference in salary across all 57 subjects averaging out at £1,400. Women were paid more in only eight subjects.

The principle author of the study, Dr Bernard Kingston said: “This analysis is the first of its kind to focus on students with tuition fees of £9,000 per year. On graduation in a wide range of subjects, women did not secure jobs that paid over the £21,000 threshold required to start paying back their student loans.

“The fact that female graduates are still being paid less than their male counterparts, even after graduating from the same subjects, suggests gender equality still has some way to go.”

Agriculture & forestry has the most pronounced gap in salary, as the median male salary was £21,500, compared to just £19,000 for women. The gap in median salaries was also pronounced in humanities subjects, as the average male median salary was £2,000 higher than women’s for graduates with a degree in modern languages, classics and philosophy. 

Among the eight subjects in which the median female salary was higher, six fell under the classification of STEM subjects. Women graduating with a degree in general engineering earn £1,500 than men in their first job. 

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