New Study Reveals Graduate Earnings GapPosted: 13th of April 2016 by Tom Clover
A new study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed that there are real discrepancies in pay rates for university graduates. The pay gaps between graduates depend on what subjects you choose, if you are a male or female, what university you go to, and even how rich your family are!
The highest earning graduates were male medical students who, ten years after graduation, earn an average wage of £55,000 a year. Female medical students, while still being among the highest earners, typically earned less, at £45,000 per year. The second-most lucrative subject was shown to economics, with men earning £42,000 and women £38,000 as a median salary.
By contrast, graduates with creative arts degrees earned the lowest salaries, with a median wage of £17,900 for men and £14,500 for women ten years after graduating.
The study looked at student loan records of 260,000 graduates over a ten-year period from 2003 to 2013, comparing different universities, degrees, and other factors to find patterns.
Men were found to earn more than women in every single case other than European languages and literature, where female graduates earned more than their male peers. The study also noted that it was with the very highest earners where the gender pay gap was most noticeable.
Location was also a factor, with graduates from the London School of Economics earning the most, and Imperial College and King’s College London graduates going on to earn more than most others. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, Cambridge and Oxford also ranked highly for graduate earning potential.
However, perhaps most surprisingly of all, the IFS found that those graduates from wealthier families earned more than those from poorer backgrounds. The study showed that those graduates from wealthy families typically earned 10% more than their less-wealthy peers, even when they went to the same university and studied the same subject.
Graduates from the top 20% of wealthy families were shown to earn 30% more than the remaining 80% of graduates. This figure, in particular has caused concern as it causes questions over the level of social mobility offered by university.
So, overall, it seems that university is a great choice is you study the right subject, at the right place, and maybe even come from the right family! Oh, and it generally helps if you are a man too!
Table: Best-paid degrees, 10 years after graduation:
Degree Women's salaries Men's salaries
Medicine £45,400 £55,300
Economics £38,200 £42,000
Engineering and technology £23,200 £31,200
Law £26,200 £30,100
Physical Sciences £24,800 £29,800
Education £24,400 £29,600
Architecture £22,500 £28,600
Maths & Computer science £22,000 £26,800
Business £22,000 £26,500
History and philosophy £23,200 £26,500
Social sciences £20,500 £26,200
Biological sciences £23,800 £25,200
European languages & literature £26,400 £25,000
Linguistics and classics £23,200 £24,100
Veterinary and agriculture £18,900 £21,400
Mass communication £18,100 £19,300
Creative arts £14,500 £17,900
Base: Median annual salary
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