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The UK’s Graduate Gender Pay Gap – Which Degrees Lead to Fairly Paid Jobs?

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The gender pay gap is a hot topic in most industries, but how does it affect the university scene? Are some degrees more likely to land you in a job where you are paid more or less based on your gender?

Looking at UK universities and their gender pay gaps Debut Careers has revealed which institutions and degrees have the largest inconsistencies between graduate earnings depending on whether an individual is male or female.

Degree subjects with the largest gender pay gaps

Firstly, the research looks at the degrees which have the biggest and smallest difference in post-graduate earnings when looking at gender. 

Medicine and dentistry are revealed to have the largest divide in salary based on gender, with men earning £63,600 on average a year, ten years after graduation, whereas women in the same field earn £43,200. That’s a massive difference of £20,400 – a whole year’s salary for some individuals.

Combined and general studies also revealed a large disparity when it comes to gender and salary, with a gap of £11,400 between men and women. Males can expect to earn £32,300 and women £20,900 while working in the same roles.

There seems to be a gender divide in veterinary science degrees, too. Male vets can expect to take home £38,900 ten years after graduation, whereas female vets have to settle for £29,500 – a gap of £9,400 just based on gender. Female graduates from business and management degrees can also expect to be paid £9,000 less than their male counterparts, earning on average £27,900 whereas men can expect a salary of £36,900.

Degree subjects with the smallest gender pay gaps

So, which degrees lead to fairer incomes when looking at gender? While there were no instances of women being paid more than men, the gaps between the average income was much smaller in some degrees.

Those who studied communications and media degrees can enjoy the smallest gender pay gap, with only £3,000 difference in earnings after 10 years. Men graduating from these courses can expect an average income of £28,700 and women in the same areas can earn £25,400.

Health and social care comes in at a close second, with men earning around £30,300 and women expecting a salary of £26,100 – a gap of £4,200, which is surprising for an industry which is very much perceived to be female-dominated.

Graduates who undertook English studies were revealed to also have a relatively low pay gap. Women who went on to employment from English studies-based degrees can expect to earn an average of £26,700 after ten years and males £31,100.

Universities with the largest gender pay gap

The research also revealed which universities had the largest disparity between income when looking at the gender of its graduates. 

To find this, researchers had to look at the earnings of graduates once they reach 29 years of age as opposed to 10 years after graduation due to the way the data is collected by the universities.

Rather worryingly, some establishments revealed huge gaps in average salary, with Stirling University in Scotland reporting the largest difference. Male graduates from the university were revealed to earn an average salary of £37,700 at the age of 29, compared to £25,200 for females. That’s a huge difference of £12,500.

The Royal Agricultural College also reveals a massive leap in average income between its male and female graduates. Men can expect to take home £40,300, whereas a woman’s average salary is just £29,200; the difference being £11,100 solely based on the gender of the graduate.

The University of Warwick was revealed as the third university with the largest gender pay gap, with a slightly smaller disparity of £11,000 between male and females who have graduated from the establishment. Male average earnings are revealed to be £50,400, which is huge in comparison to that of females, which is £39,400.

Universities with the smallest gender pay gap

Not all universities reported such a vast gap between male and female graduate earnings. In fact, there are four universities from which female graduates earn more than men on average. 

At the Royal Veterinary College females take home £4,200 more than males and at the University of West London, females earn £2,000 more than men. It’s a similar picture at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Ravensbourne University, where women earn £1.700 and £600 more than their male fellows respectively.

When looking at the smallest pay gap, however, it was the Arts University Bournemouth who was revealed to have the smallest gender pay gap of only £400 between male and female graduates.

Norwich University of the Arts came in a close second, boasting a small disparity of £500, with males earning £22,200 and females taking home £21,700.

The gap then jumps up slightly, with University of the Arts, London reporting a difference of £1,00 between its male and female graduates.

How the gender gap changes over time

The research has shown that the gender pay gap widens over time; the longer it has been since graduation, the bigger the gap.

For example, a single year after graduating, a male can expect to earn £20,900 on average compared to £19,300 for women, revealing a gap of £1,600. However, looking at three, five and ten years after graduation, the gap increases by 56%, 125% and 425% respectively.


Usmaan Qureshi, is the Client Success Manager at Debut. His role sees him work with the company’s largest enterprise employers and consults on how they can get the most out of the Debut platform, engaging and exposing their brand to students in the most effective way. 


Debut is the world’s first careers app dedicated to students and graduates.

Traditional entry level recruitment channels and tools are struggling to engage with students and graduates. Most companies acknowledge the importance of smartphones and digital media for their target audiences but are still lacking a comprehensive mobile attraction strategy. Until now. 

Debut is a completely free app for students to showcase their profile and skills in an engaging and fun way to employers across the country. For graduate employers, it is the attraction tool of choice, providing them unprecedented targeting and access to a wide and receptive talent pool.

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