/ Social

Education, Graduate Earnings and the Gender Pay Gap

The UK government has recently made the raw data around Universities, degree courses and the earnings of graduates from those courses public for the first time. As commentators have said the data is very raw and it will take some time for it to be adjusted and interpreted to answer big questions. Despite this, David Morris, Deputy Editor of WONKHE dove into the data and found some early lessons, three of which are very relevant to the work we do at Sliips and an upcoming feature of ours: University Dashboards so graduates can compare themselves to the rest of their cohort!

1. The Gender Pay Gap starts straight away

Graduates from Engineering & Tech, Architecture and Mathematics appear to have the largest pay gap in the first year of graduation, but only a handful of subjects have none - indicating there is a real difference in the salaries males and females move on to from University. Indeed this would conflict with a common statement I hear when talking about Sliips and the Gender Pay Gap:

“It’s fine at the start of careers, but develops due to maternity leave and associated reductions in hours due to child care.”

2. The Gender Pay gap is compounded when combined with Race

Three years after graduation the graduate gender pay gap between White Men and White Females stands at around £2,000, whereas with Pakistani Female Graduates it stands at £6,500.

Worryingly, it is certain ethnic minorities that are particularly vulnerable to being disadvantaged in the pay gap: Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Black Caribbean. These are also the same groups that struggle the most with low well-being at University, let alone getting in in the first place.

Clearly a more holistic approach is needed to deal with the reasons behind this data.

3. Student attainment prior to University is still a big indicator of future earning potential.

Outside of specialist degrees like medicine and architecture; the data clearly indicates that a student’s prior attainment in A-levels is perhaps a bigger indicator of future earnings than their degree. The data clearly shows that students with a higher UCAS tariff outperform those with lower tariffs regardless of degree studied.

This ties into an IFS study that showed that:

“graduates who attended private schools earn 6% more than their state school compatriots working in the same occupations.”

Much more work still needed, then, in the pursuit of social mobility. This is exactly what we hope to do at Sliips through crowdsourcing data to give a detailed analysis of where and how specifically these gaps come about.

To that end, we will soon be launching University Dashboards where users will be able to compare themselves to their cohort and degree subjects.

If you’d like to help, all our data is crowdsourced so signing up at www.sliips.com is a great first step.