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Gender pay gap: female graduates earn 17% less than male university classmates

The threat of tuition fees potentially increasing further in coming years makes choosing to go to university a pretty big decision for young people today, and they would need to hope for a good career when they leave to pay back thousands of pounds of student loans. However, our study of post-university earnings show things might actually look a lot less rosy for female graduates, as they earn an average of 17% less than their male classmates within just 5 years of completing their degree.

Oxford and Cambridge are amongst the institutions that show large gaps in salaries for male and female graduates, with men earning 14% and 19% more than their female classmates respectively. King's College London and London School of Economics are less dramatic, but still show a 3% difference.

Average salaries for graduates 0-5 years of experience

Male Female Gap
University College London 45,500 37,500 -21%
Cambridge University 57,700 46,900 -19%
Oxford University 61,300 52,400 -14%
Imperial College 54,600 48,500 -11%
King's College London 41,300 39,900 -3%
London School of Economics 50,100 48,800 -3%

The story isn't much better for MBA students, and within 5 years of completing an MBA the gap between men and women may appear to narrow slightly to 13%, but once bonuses are factored in takes the gap to a huge 26%. Incredibly, women take away discretionary bonuses that are on average 46% smaller than their male colleagues:

Average salaries for MBA graduates 5 years after graduation

Male Female Gap
Average salary 86,800 74,700 -13%
Average bonus 50,000 27,000 -46%
Average total 136,800 101,700 -26%

Industries like financial services and consultancy are a popular career path post- MBA, and these industries are renowned for both their big bonuses and huge secrecy around remuneration. Our study perhaps goes some way to highlight whether companies are approaching salary and bonus negotiations differently. Or, perhaps it is female professionals who are just a little less pushy when it comes to asking for a pay rise?

Either way, it is well worth seeing where you stand before your next pay review.


Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.

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