The big battle of the sexes is under scrutiny again, this time round with a focus on the proportion of male and female graduates managing to secure a job after university.
Unsurprisingly, the female faction comes out on top in accordance with the long-lived trend of females outperforming males at almost every academic subject. The Independent recently published an article releasing 2011/2012 figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) which put male graduates’ unemployment at a rate of 11 percent after their first undergraduate degree, compared to female graduates’ more slight 7.2 percent. This trend stretches across the academic board, to students with postgraduate degrees and further qualifications, with 5.6 of females with a postgraduate education remaining unemployed compared to the 8 percent geared by postgraduate males.
On a national level the percentage of unemployed higher education leavers was set at 7.1 percent. Interestingly however, male graduate employment stands above the national average yet still 52.3 percent of women are in employment compared to 52.1 percent of men.
So all this poses a question: should male students be worried?
From the outcome of yet another recent survey publishing results indicating that women are still being paid less than men, despite holding similar qualifications, the answer to that question should be obvious.
Outcomes of the study indicated that women graduates consistently fared at the lower end of the salary range (earning between £15-£17,999 and £21-23,999), a contrast to the average of £24,000 or more expected to be taken home by a man of similar qualifications; shocking considering the same pay-gap differences existed in 1999 and 1995. This gap persisted even when factors such as UCAS score, degree subject and institutions were compared.
The non-profit sector was the only one where this pay-gap difference did not exist.
Most frustratingly, the reasons offered to equality campaigners for this consistent pay-gap difference are non-existent. They are said to “still remain a mystery” with more research needed to be carried out on the topic, however speculations hover around the idea that females are less likely to engage in negotiation around salary levels or that females are just happier to settle for less pay, indicating that their male counterparts are either always on the chase for heftier pay-cheques or just willing to wait around for a job which offers a higher salary.
Professionals in the field have made statements relating to the need of a “comprehensive women’s employment strategy”, however as a female graduate who is still struggling to find a job I’m not convinced much effort it going into introducing one. Perhaps by taking the ‘male’ approach to these things and choosing to not settle for a lower salary or unsuitable job role unlike many of my female graduate colleagues, I’m starting to become convinced that we’re all in the same boat and it wouldn’t be any easier if I was a boy.