Despite female students achieving better grades and the majority of university places, they do not expect to earn as much as their male peers after graduation, the start of the gender pay gap.
Female students have said that they expect to make over £3,300 a year less than male students in their first graduate post.
The National Student Money Survey published this year, asked current university students to approximate their starting salary after they leave university. The average male student said £22,988, whilst female students said £19,622. A 14% difference.
These findings align with real figures of male and female graduate earnings. In research by The Institute of Fiscal Studies conducted earlier this year, it was revealed that ten years after graduating, males earn £30,000, whilst women were earning just £27,000.
However, according to a study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), even though 53.8% of 2015 graduates were female, only 42.2% of them were successful in finding graduate jobs.
But whilst many may assume that these figures are because of gender discrimination in recruitment, in actual fact employers say that female applicants may have actually had a better chance of getting the job. But they just didn’t apply.
The belief is that women are reluctant to put themselves forward for certain roles. This could be because many female graduates consider certain industries to be ‘male industries’, and either a female applicant simply wouldn’t be considered or there wouldn’t by any career development opportunities there for them.
To attract the best talent to the business, employers need to be showing potential applicants that the company is inclusive and encourages a broad range of talent in their workforce.
But there is good news. Over half of the employers asked in the study said that gender was a high priority for their business, and even 73.8% said they had a diversity and inclusion strategy in place for graduates.
Employers should be looking to extend this commitment by developing their careers equally, across the organisation. If there are more women in the boardroom, then female graduates are more likely to feel inspired and to see that each industry has career potential for them.