Breaking the glass ceiling is still an ambition for many women, but before they reach such lofty heights, they have to contend with sticky floors and concrete mazes.
According to a recent study by the graduate career website Milkround, female graduates dramatically underestimate their earning power when applying for their first job out of university which can have long term consequences.
A £10,000 pay-gap right from the get-go
The current median UK graduate wage is £30,000 per year. However, a survey of 5,000 postgraduates shows that more than a third of female respondents indicate that they expect a starting graduate salary of £20,000.
The study also shows that whilst 17 per cent of women expect to earn between £25,000 and £35,000 in their first jobs, only 18 per cent of male graduates say they are prepared to accept a starting graduate salary below the £20,000 mark. This “self-belief” in their own worth gives male graduates a head start when it comes to their salaries, paving the way for a gap further up the road.
Despite efforts by policy groups, charities and the Government to close the gender pay gap, progress has been sluggish. According to the Fawcett Society, the overall gender pay gap for full-time workers is still about 14 per cent.
A report published by the Department for Education in June shows that, five years into their careers, women still earn on average £6,500 less than their male peers.
Francesca Parkinson from Milkround commented
Although we’re very aware of the existing gender pay gap, it was a surprise for us to see that so many female graduates do not realise their worth when starting their careers, a fact that may contribute to a difference in pay,” said
Nearly 85 per cent of female graduates do not know their own value, which may have a knock-on effect in their future earnings.”
A recently graduated female, who is part of the WiC Hospitality Team asked us to provide a reference when applying for “internships”.
We responded asking why she wasn’t applying for paid work – a “proper job”. We reminded her that she has work experience, skills and potential and we forwarded a couple of advertisements for entry level jobs and an opportunity for a 3-month paid research role.
Don’t understimate your worth.