University Life

/ 12 months ago /

 Article by Andrew Frobisher

A Study Into The UK’s Graduate Gender Pay Gap

Unfortunately, despite widespread awareness, change and overall progression towards equal pay for both men and women in the UK, there remains a noticeably large gender pay gap amongst university graduates, with the most recent Government pay data revealing that males earn £1,600 more than women do one year after graduating and that this rises to £3,600 after five years and £8,400 after ten.

As Debut pairs graduates with hundreds of top UK employers to find you the graduate scheme that suits you best, we wanted to know, which institutions and degrees have the largest disparity between graduate earnings for men and women?

Which Degree Subjects Have the Largest & Smallest Gender Pay Gap?

The data we analysed shows that the gender pay gap is the widest for those studying medicine and dentistry, with men earning around £63,300 ten years after graduation, compared to £43,200 for women, a huge difference of £20,400.

Other subjects with worryingly high disparity include combined and general studies (a gap of £11,400), veterinary sciences (£9,400) and business and management (£9,000).

The degree subjects with the largest gender pay gap…

SubjectMale Average EarningsFemale Average EarningsDifference
Medicine and dentistry£63,600£43,200£20,400
Combined and general studies£32,300£20,900£11,400
Veterinary sciences£38,900£29,500£9,400
Business and management£36,900£27,900£9,000
Architecture, building and planning£39,500£30,700£8,800
Education and teaching£32,800£24,500£8,300

Subjects allied to medicine not otherwise specified

On the other hand, the subjects with the smallest pay gap after ten years were communications (£3,300), health and social care (£4,200), English studies and Philosophy and religious studies (both £4,400), however, all still show a substantial difference in earnings.

The degree subjects with the smallest gender pay gap…

SubjectMale Average EarningsFemale Average EarningsDifference
Communications and media£28,700£25,400£3,300
Health and social care£30,300£26,100£4,200
English studies£31,100£26,700£4,400
Philosophy and religious studies£32,800£28,40£4,400
Creative arts and design£26,200£21,300£4,900
Physics and astronomy£41,000£34,900£6,100

Which Universities Have the Largest Gender Pay Gap?

Whilst the official graduate earnings data broken down by university differs slightly to that for degree subjects, in that it showcases the earnings of graduates once they reach 29 years of age, the fact remains that this still shows a worryingly large gender gap at most institutions.

Stirling University in Scotland has the largest disparity, with male graduates earning £37,700, compared to £25,200 for females, a difference of £12,500, followed by the Royal Agricultural University (£11,100 higher for men) and the University of Warwick (£11,000 higher for men).

The universities with the largest gender pay gap…

UniversityMale Average EarningsFemale Average EarningsDifference
The University of Stirling£37,700£25,200£12,500
Royal Agricultural University£40,300£29,200£11,100
The University of Warwick£50,400£39,40£11,000
The University of St Andrews£45,100£34,200£10,900
City, University of London£43,100£33,400£9,700
The University of Dundee£40,500£30,900£9,600
University of Durham£47,600£38,400£9,200
Oxford Brookes University£39,700£30,700£9,000
The University of York£43,900£35,200£8,700
The University of Cambridge£51,600£43,00£8,600

However, there are four universities where female graduates earn more than men (the Royal Veterinary College, University of West London, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Ravensbourne University), as well as several others where the gap is only a couple of hundred pounds.

The universities where female average earnings are higher…

UniversityMale Average EarningsFemale Average EarningsDifference
The Royal Veterinary College£31,200£35,400-£4,200
The University of West London£24,100£26,100-£2,000
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama£23,200£24,900-£1,700
Ravensbourne University London£30,200£30,800-£600

The universities with the smallest gender pay gap…

UniversityMale Average EarningsFemale Average EarningsDifference
The Arts University Bournemouth£25,400£25,000£400
Norwich University of the Arts£22,200£21,700£500
University of the Arts, London£28,500£27,500£1,000
London South Bank University£26,200£25,000£1,200
Goldsmiths College£29,600£28,100£1,500
Newman University£28,200£26,400£1,800

How Do Earnings Change Over Time?

Lastly, our research reveals that, while the gender pay gap perhaps isn’t quite so large straight after graduation, it certainly widens over time.

On average, men earn around £20,900 one year after graduating from university, compared to £19,300 for women, a gap of £1,600.

However, this gap increases by 56% three years after graduation, 125% after five years and 425% after ten years.

 1 Year After Graduation3 Years After Graduation5 Years After Graduation10 Years After Graduation
Male Average Earnings£20,900£24,900£28,300£35,300
Female Average Earnings£19,300£22,400£24,700£26,900


By Degree

Sourced from the Government’s ‘Graduate outcomes (LEO): outcomes in 2016 to 2017’ dataset (Table 5). All figures relate to the median earnings of students who graduated in 2005/06 for the 2016/17 tax year.

By University

Sourced from the Government’s ‘Undergraduate degrees: labour market returns’ dataset (Table 15). All figures relate to median earnings at age 29 for the 2015/16 tax year.

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