Female graduates are still likely to be earning thousands of pounds less than their male counterparts, a new report has suggested.
It reveals that women are likely to be on lower salaries than men, even if they attended the same type of university and and studied the same subject. This is despite laws designed to ensure equal access to jobs and pay, according to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu).
In a new article, published in Graduate Market Trends, Hecsu examined the 2012 earnings of students who applied to higher education in 2006 using a study called Futuretrack.
The findings show that more women's earnings were at the lower end of the salary range, with many taking home pay of between £15-17,999 and £21-23,999. Men were more likely to earn salaries of £24,000 or more, the report said.
It suggests that average earnings of men were higher than women's across all degree subject areas, even if more women had taken those subjects than men. The report adds that men appear to have earned more than women who started university with the same number of Ucas points and attended the same type of institution.
Article author Jane Artess, Hecsu director of research, said: "Equal opportunity to access jobs and pay has been enshrined in legislation for 40 years yet Futuretrack found that being female can make a difference to a graduate's earning power. Despite having the same Ucas entry tariff points, attending the same type of institution and studying the same subject, men are commanding higher salaries than women."
She said that the gender distribution of graduate earnings was "strikingly uneven".
She said: "This is true across all the broad subject areas, even where women's participation is greater than men's. It is difficult to see why this is, for example, female graduates of media related subjects are no more or less numerous than their male counterparts yet their earnings are typically lower. Of the Futuretrack respondents there were fewer men than women in law, yet there is an even greater male lead on earnings.
"Since it would be unlawful for employers to pay males and females doing the same job differently, something else must be happening to female graduate earnings. If we look at wages by sector, the male lead is persistent in the public and private sectors, in graduate workplaces and also in graduate and non-graduate job roles. The only area where female pay is equal to males is in the not-for-profit sector."