New study reveals female university graduates earn 17% less than males

A university degree is seen by many people as the first step towards a successful and well-paid career, but new figures reveal that female graduates could actually be earning an average of 17% less than their male classmates within 5 years of completing their undergraduate degree.

The figures come from salary benchmarking website which has crowdsourced anonymous data from over 49,000 individuals. By analysing this data, has been able to identify which universities have the biggest gap between male and female salaries within 5 years of graduation.

Oxford and Cambridge University are amongst the universities with the biggest gaps in salaries for male and female graduates, with men earning 14% and 19% more than their female classmates within 5 years of graduation respectively. In contrast, the gap at King’s College London and London School of Economics is much less dramatic, at just 3%. A selection of top universities with a notable gender divide is shown below:

Average salaries for graduates 0-5 years of experience


University College London

Cambridge University

Oxford University

Imperial College

King’s College London

London School of Economics

Source: Salary benchmarking website

MBA students are typically older and much more established in their careers than university graduates, and looking at average salaries within 5 years of completing an MBA the gap between men and women actually narrows slightly to 13%. However, overall earnings once bonuses are factored in takes the gap to a huge 26%, with women taking away discretionary bonuses 46% smaller than their male colleagues:

Average salaries for MBA graduates 5 years after graduation


Average salary

Average bonus

Average total

Source: Salary benchmarking website

Many MBA graduates go into industries such as financial service and consultancy, which are renowned for their secrecy when it comes to remuneration, and the figures perhaps illustrate a difference in how men and women approach salary and bonus negotiations.

CEO of, Thomas Drewry said: “The gender gap in salaries is a real issue in the UK today, and only by having a level of transparency will we start addressing the problem. Taking the decision to go to university or study for an MBA is a huge investment in terms of both time and money, so it is important for people to consider what their earning potential might be when they have graduated, so they can manage their own career more effectively. “