Female graduates earn starting salaries that are £1,400 lower on average than the starting salaries earned by male graduates, according to research by TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk.
The analysis, which is based on starting salary data from the Destinations of leavers from higher education survey, found that male graduates take home a higher starting salary in 32 out of 57 subjects, with eight subject areas showing a pay gap of at least £2,000 and a further 11 subjects demonstrating a pay gap of at least £1,000.
The subjects where men earn at least £2,000 more than women are: agriculture and forestry; theology and religious studies; medicine; French; classics and ancient history; Iberian languages; philosophy; art and design.
The largest gender pay gap is in the agriculture and forestry field, with men earning £2,500 more than women on average.
The analysis found that there are only eight areas where female graduates earn more than their male counterparts. The subjects where the starting salary for female graduates is higher than for male graduates include: general engineering; materials technology; mechanical engineering; civil engineering; electrical and electronic engineering; pharmacology and pharmacy; archeology; social work.
The largest gap is in general engineering, where female graduates earn £1,500 more on average than their male counterparts.
On average, male graduates across all subject groups earn a median starting salary of £23,000 a year, compared to £21,600 a year for female graduates.
Dr Bernard Kingston, principle author at TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, said: “The fact that female graduates are still being paid less than their male counterparts, even after graduating from the same subjects, suggests gender equality still has some way to go.
“However, it is notable that the fields in which female graduates earn more than males are largely STEM subjects. The fact that the gender imbalance favours them in these areas might help to make these subjects more attractive to women.”
Sally Hunt, general secretary at the University and College Union, added: “This report lays bare the scale of inequality facing our graduates in terms of pay. It’s deeply troubling that, 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, women are still getting paid significantly less for doing the same work.
“If we hope to change things for the next generation of graduates, we urgently need a firm commitment from business and the education sector to tackling persistent barriers to equal pay.”