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Gender pay gap starts after graduation, figures show

Women typically earn around £1,600 less than men just a year after leaving university, according to Government data.

Women are more likely to be in work or studying after gaining a degree than men, but earn less from the very start of their careers, official figures show.

Government statistics show that female graduates are typically taking home around £1,500 less than their male colleagues just a year after leaving university, and this gap grows over time.

The findings come at a time when the gender pay gap is firmly in the spotlight and are likely to raise fresh questions over equal pay.

One leading headmistress said it is “unacceptable” that women are facing disadvantages “as soon as they step through the office door”

Experimental statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE) show that in 2015/16, 87.6% of UK women who gained their first degree from English universities and colleges were in further study, employment or both a year after graduating, compared to 84.6% of men.

For those women who had graduated three years before, the figure was 87.6%, for five years it was 86.2% and for 10 years, it was 82.8%.

In comparison, the figures for men were: three years – 85.1%, five years – 84.3%, 10 years – 82.3%.

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At the same time, the data shows a year after graduating, women were earning around £1,600 less than their male counterparts, with a typical salary of £18,300, compared to £19,900 to men.

This gender gap continues, and widens over time, the data shows.

For those who had graduated three years previously, women typically earned £21,800, compared to £24,200 for men at the same point.

Among those who were five years post-graduation, the figures were £24,500 for women and £27,800 for men, and at 10 years, typical salaries were £27,100 for women and £35,100 for men.

At one, three, five and 10 years after graduation, male earnings exceed female earnings Government statisticians

“At one, three, five and 10 years after graduation, male earnings exceed female earnings,” DfE statisticians said.

“The difference between male and female median earnings also increases with years after graduation – male earnings were 9% larger than female earnings one year after graduation, 11% larger at three years after graduation, 13% larger five years after graduation and 30% larger at 10 years after graduation.”

Some variations in typical pay will be down to differences between the sexes in part-time work, DfE statisticians said.

The statistics, which cover the financial year 2015/16, are based on data collected on a number of groups of students at different points after graduation.

It’s unacceptable that young women face disadvantages before they even have a chance to prove themselves in their chosen career. Julie Keller, head of Nottingham Girls’ High School GDST

Julie Keller, head of Nottingham Girls’ High School GDST, said: “It’s unacceptable that young women face disadvantages before they even have a chance to prove themselves in their chosen career.

“There’s been a lot talked about the gender pay gap of people at the top of the career ladder, but these statistics show young women face disadvantages as soon as they step through the office door.

“As educators, we need to ensure young girls have the knowledge and the confidence to challenge so they can be the generation that break that glass ceiling.

“But it shouldn’t just be up to women to ask for more – why aren’t employers doing more to ensure more equitable pay?

“Employers who don’t treat all their staff fairly will soon lose out the brightest and the best on female talent.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “No woman should be held back just because of her gender. We now have the lowest gender pay gap for full-time workers on record, and more women in work than ever before.

“But we know there’s more to do – that’s why the UK is one of the first countries in the world to require employers to publish their gender pay and gender bonus gap.”

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