‘Graduates from richer family backgrounds earn significantly more than their less wealthy counterparts even when they take similar degrees from similar universities, according to new research with major implications for UK higher education.
Evidence that social background “continues to influence graduates’ earnings long after graduation” is one of the key findings in a study carried out by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UCL Institute of Education, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.
The paper’s abstract says that while “considerable” variation in graduate earnings is evident across different institutions, “much of this is explained by student background and subject mix” at those universities.’ - Times Higher Education
‘The average gap in earnings between students from wealthy households and others was on average £8,000 for men, ten years after graduation.
And in almost every degree subject, men earned more a decade into their careers than women, the research found.
For the first time researchers…...used anonymised tax data and student loan records of 260,000 students.
The data spans up to ten years after students graduated after beginning higher education between 1998 and 2011.
The study found men earned a median salary of around £30,000, while women earned £27,000.
Just language and literature subjects saw women earn more.’ - Huffington Post
‘Male graduates who studied at 23 low performing institutions earn less, on average, than peers who chose not to attend university, [the] report has found.
The research revealed that, while the figure was lower for women, there were still nine universities where female graduates went on to be worse off than their school leaver counterparts, 10 years after graduating.
The figures will further concerns that universities are not doing enough to equip students with the skills required for top roles, with sixth-formers pushed into higher education degrees that they will struggle to repay loans for on graduation.
The report suggested that creative arts graduates had the lowest salaries - earning, on average, no more than non-graduates, 10 years on.
However, researchers urged caution, suggesting that given regional differences in average wages, "locally focused institutions may struggle to produce graduates whose wages outpace England-wide earnings". - Telegraph
‘Megan Dunn, president of the National Union of Students, said: “This study shows so much more work has to be done to create equal opportunities for students. It’s hugely disappointing to see women and poorer graduates are facing such a massive disadvantage in the workplace.”
Universities minister Jo Johnson said: “We have seen record application rates among students from disadvantaged backgrounds, but this latest analysis reveals the worrying gaps that still exist in graduate outcomes.”
Prof Steve West, chairman of University Alliance, said: “The report’s most striking conclusion is the extent to which a graduate’s family background remains a key factor determining their earnings. This needs to change. Universities have a role to play in addressing this inequality, ensuring that opportunities are open to all with the talent to succeed and that everyone can make the most of their potential.” - Guardian