Obtaining a university degree is seen as the first step towards a successful career, however, new research has revealed that female graduates could be earning up to 17 percent less than male graduates up to five years after graduating.

The figures released by Emolument, a salary benchmarking website, crowdsourced anonymous data from over 49,000 individuals. These figures have also revealed which universities have the biggest pay gap between male and female graduates within the first five years of graduation.

Oxford and Cambridge University are among the top biggest salary gaps, with men earning 14 percent and 19 percent more than their female classmates respectively. King’s college and London School of Economics are among the lowest pay gap with 3 percent.

MBA students tend to be older and more established in their careers. After five years of graduation the average pay gap between men and women narrows slightly to 13 percent. However, once overall earnings and bonuses are taken into factor this gap increases to 26 percent, with women on average taking away discretionary bonuses of 46 percent smaller than their male colleagues.

A large proportion of MBA graduates enter sectors such as financial services and consultancy, which are renowned for their secrecy surrounding remuneration. The figures may in fact indicate a difference in approach to salary and bonus negotiations between men and women.

CEO of Emolument.com, Thomas Drewry says:

“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. “

Average salaries for graduates 0-5 years of experience
  Male Female Gap
University College London £45,500 £37,500 -21%
Cambridge University £57,700 £46,900 -19%
Oxford University £61,300 £52,400 -14%
Imperial College £54,600 £48,500 -11%
King’s College London £41,300 £39,900 -3%
London School of Economics £50,100 £48,800 -3%