Grad women earn less than men

Stephen Brothwell 10 November 2007

Young female employees are earning less than their male colleagues after they graduate, says a new report from the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA).

A report published earlier in the year by the Equal Opportunities Commission blamed the general disparity in pay on women, citing their “tendency” to work part-time or in low paid jobs after having children.

But HESA’s report shows that this analysis is too simplistic, as the gender pay gap even affects recently-graduated women in full time employment. The report tracked every student possible who had graduated in 2003, the first time such a large scale investigation was carried out.

Amongst its findings was the revelation that only a quarter of female graduates were earning over £25,000 by 2007, compared with over 40% of their male peers.

Even more concerning is evidence of a pay gap of £1,000 already existing between male and female graduates in comparable full-time jobs three years after leaving university.

Greater cause for concern is that ethnic origin was found to be one of the largest factors determining graduate employment and pay. The HESA research revealed that whilst three quarters of white and Asian graduates found work within three years, only two thirds of black graduates were employed in the same time span. They were also twice as likely to be unemployed.

The Minister for Higher Education, Bill Rammell, has welcomed the HESA’s investigation, stressing the more positive aspects that emerged. It clearly demonstrates that graduates perform exceptionally well in the labour market and the vast majority (85%) of them are satisfied with their career so far” he said.

Stephen Brothwell