Gender pay gap starts at university

Female graduates choose salaries up to £1,438 lower than male counterparts according to new findings from graduate-jobs.com

New research from graduate-jobs.com has shown that on average, female graduates request lower starting salaries than their male counterparts when looking to start their career – and have done so for at least the last 10 years.

graduate-jobs.com analysed the salaries requested by a total of 498,696 graduate job seekers over the course of 2003 to 2013. The specialist jobs board found that the average starting salary currently requested by female graduate job seekers is £1,438 lower than male graduates.

This gap between the genders has remained relatively consistent, although became more pronounced in 2011. The current average requested salary for male graduates is £20,219, and for female graduates £18,781, a gap that is 44% wider than in 2003 when female graduates’ average requested starting salary was £17,507 which was £999 lower than the £18,506 average requested by males.

The analysis suggests that the differential comes from more males than females choosing careers in industry sectors that pay higher salaries. Women have a greater propensity towards careers in media, marketing and public relations; HR, recruitment and training; and buying, merchandising, customer service and retail. Male graduates are more likely to prefer higher paying careers in banking, finance and insurance; engineering; management; computing and IT, digital media and telecommunications; accounting and sales.

Gerry Wyatt, chief operations officer at graduate-jobs.com said: “Much has and is being done within both education and employment to encourage women to have broader career aspirations.

“In general we’re still seeing more men than women go into sectors that pay higher salaries. Women must ensure they are not undervaluing themselves when searching for a career. There are many employers looking for career-driven women in sectors primarily populated by men, such as banking, engineering, telecoms, IT and sales. These recruiters often advertise on the female focused graduate-women.com. In particular, many graduate employers want women to enter the male dominated sales career which offers good basic salaries as well as generous commission. Graduates as a whole seem to shun such roles, picturing a career as a telephone cold caller. The reality is very different for good graduates who secure roles as strategic sales people within large organisations.

“The advice for both male and female graduates is that although setting realistic salary expectations is a way to stand out to recruiters, the most important thing is the quality of the graduate – their academic achievements, their extra curricular activities and their work experience.”

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