Female grads: are you worth it?

Great expectations (@laurenfellisx)

Over a third of female graduates expect a starting graduate salary of £20,000, which falls £10,000 short of the median UK graduate wage of £30,000 per year.

Just 17 per cent of females would expect to earn between £25,000 – £35,000 in their first job, according to new research from Milkround.

This has prompted Milkround, the UK’s leading student and graduate career resource, to look at a possible ‘lead floor’ phenomenon among graduating females in the UK.

Alongside the glass ceiling that remains an issue for women as they progress in their jobs, women may be weighing themselves down on a ‘lead floor’ before they even set foot on the career ladder by vastly undervaluing themselves.

The Department Of Education’s Longitudinal Education Outcomes has revealed that five years into their careers, women earn on average £6,500 less than their male equivalents.*

In comparison to women, just 18 per cent of male graduates are prepared to accept a starting graduate salary of £20,000, indicating that men place more value on their skills and knowledge than their female counterparts. This awareness of their value gives them a head start when it comes to their income from the very start of their careers.

Francesca Parkinson from Milkround said: “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.

“Nearly 85 per cent of female graduates do not know their own value, which may have a knock on effect in their future earnings. As the UK’s largest graduate advice website, we feel a responsibility to empower women in the workplace, helping them to realise their worth and build career confidence”

For advice on how to set yourself up to get the best starting salary, how to maintain an appropriate pay cheque throughout your career, plus tips on negotiating your wage and building your skillset, visit advice.milkround.com.


  1. Negotiating a salary is one aspect of knowing your worth.

    Another is choosing your sector. Generalist jobs in ‘consumer PR’ or desirable-sounding roles in ‘fashion PR’ are usually less well paid than more specialist roles in corporate and financial, healthcare or technology PR.

    We need to encourage all graduates (including females) to aim high.

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