The Guardian is reporting that the pay gap between male and female graduates in the UK has widened over three consecutive years, according to new data that suggests a student’s future earnings are strongly linked to their family background and school.
The figures from the government’s database of graduate employment and earnings reveal that pay for men continues to outstrip that of women after finishing their undergraduate degrees, and widened each year between 2014 and 2017.
The data also shows that men earn more than women at all stages in the decade after graduation, with male earnings 8% higher after one year, 15% after five years and 31% higher at 10 years after graduation.
The pay figures confirmed previous data showing that courses such as economics, medicine, and dentistry were among the best paid, while humanities and creative arts and design were among the lowest.
Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said he was delighted that earnings had continued to increase for recent graduates.
“We want students and their parents to have the best possible information about higher education. This data is an invaluable tool to help prospective students make the right choice and know what to expect from the course they choose,” Skidmore said.
Once inflation was taken into account, however, the degree premium appears to be shrinking for those who graduated in the midst of the global financial crisis in 2006-07: a decade later their earnings fell by £600 a year when adjusted for inflation.
The figures also suggest that the trajectory of a graduate’s earnings are set by not just their gender but also their social background and family circumstances, as well as their exam results before going onto higher education.
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