A new study has been conducted which is the first to compare the benefits of a university education with the earnings of non-graduate workers
Graduate pay figures have recently been collected by the Department of Education, which show that degree qualifications are not enough to bridge the pay gap between men and women.
The figures were collected from tax data and analysed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), which looked at who benefits most from attending University in England.
According to the IFS, male graduates receive a 6% income boost after graduating from university, compared to those who leave school and go straight into the workforce.
In comparison, female graduates receive nearly 50% more than non-university educated women, which equalises them to income levels of non-university educated men.
Both female graduates and male non-graduates earn £30,000 on average by the age of 29, according to the IFS.
Redbrick spoke to Laura, a final year English student, who said, ‘I don’t think it’s fair. It’s not fair that women have to pay more and earn less by the end of it.’
Jack Britton from the IFS said that women had the most to gain from a degree, as those without a degree received ‘far less pay’ than men without one.
Britton states, ‘For women, going to university is a very good investment, for men it’s less clear – there are a large class of men doing courses that have zero or negative monetary value.’
The Guardian suggests that Sam Gyimah, recently resigned higher education minister, has used the IFS figures to highlight the benefits of going to university in England; he suggests that 85% of students got a ‘significant, positive return’ from higher education.
He continues, ‘it is also clear from the analysis that there are a clutch of courses at certain universities which are not delivering the financial outcomes for students.’
The IFS analysts have also concluded that people who went to university tended to have better exam results from school, so would be expected to have higher earning careers.
This is based on figures in longitudinal observations which followed those who took GCSE exams between 2002-2007.
IFS 2018 statistics which examine mean real earnings of those aged 29, show that women with at least 5 A*-Cs, with no higher education, earn roughly £20,000.
Men who also have no higher education, however, earn roughly £10,000 more with an average of £30,000.
Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of the Office for Students, commented on this, ‘universities should scrutinise this data carefully, and some will need to ask themselves tough questions about how well they are preparing students for life after graduation.’