New research on the labour market shows that the UK gender pay gap applies as soon as graduates finish their degrees.


The study, conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), focused on the salaries of 2018 graduates over the first 15 months since graduating.

It found that on average, men earn 10 per cent more than women within those first 15 months. Most 2018 graduates earn between £24,000 and £27,000 a year, with a higher proportion of women earning in bands under £27,000, and this is seen consistently all the way down to the lowest bracket – under £15,000.

But the statistics show higher proportions of men earning over £27,000 in full-time employement. Only 16 per cent of women with an undergraduate degree earned more than £30,000 within 15 months, compared with 28 per cent of men. In the highest bracket, men were doubly represented, with six per cent earning over £39,000 a year after graduation, compared with three per cent of women.

The figures also point to an ethnicity pay gap among graduates. Only half of black students gained full-time employment within a year of leaving university, compared to over 60 per cent of white graduates. At the 15 month-mark after graduation, three per cent of white students were unemployed, compared to six per cent of black graduates and seven per cent of Asian graduates.

“Pay gap reporting – suspended by the government during the coronavirus outbreak – needs to be reinstated immediately to shine a light on the inequalities existing in employers across the country,”, Joe Levenson, of the Young Women’s Trust, told the Guardian.

“More work also needs to be done to ensure employers are transparent about pay and progression.”


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