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Women graduates earn less than their male counterparts and that gap increases over the 10 years following graduation.
Graduates face a growing gender pay gap, according to new figures from the Department for Education.
They show the gender gap in earnings five years after graduation has increased over time compared with previous tax years. In the 2014/15 tax year male earnings were 12% higher, in 2015/16 the earnings were 14% higher, and in 2016/17 they were 15% higher.
The figures show earnings at one, three, five and 10 years after graduation – at each point male earnings exceed those of women. While male earnings vary more widely than women’s, median earnings show the difference between male and female median earnings also increases with years after graduation – male earnings were 8% higher than female earnings one year after graduation, 11% higher at three years after graduation, 15% higher five years after graduation and 31% higher at 10 years after graduation.
The report adds that after five years, the increase in average earnings between the 2014/15 and 2016/17 tax years was more than double for male graduates (£1,300; 5%) than the increase for female graduates (£600; 2%). For the 10 years after graduation cohorts, average female earnings did not change between the 2014/15 and 2016/17 tax years, whilst average male earnings increased by £800 (2%).
The DoE report says some of these variations will be due to differences in the incidence of part-time work by sex. Other factors are likely to include gender segregation with regard to roles and jobs and the types of subjects studied at university.
The study also shows that women are more likely to go into further study after graduation than men. However, the percentage point difference between the two decreases with years after graduation.
In addition it suggests students’ future earnings are linked to social background and exam results. Pupils on free school meals earned £3,000 a year less than those not on free school meals five years after graduation, according to the data.