Men lag behind as female graduates go top of class

Most UK universities are now seeing women graduate in greater numbers and with better degrees than men, according to new figures.

The first ever comprehensive analysis of all the university study data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, covering the past two years, shows that for 83% of universities the majority of graduates are now female.

Only 2% of universities said the same amount of men were graduating as women and the remaining 15% said more men were completing their courses.

The report, produced by strategy consultancy Work Communications and Real World magazine, also shows that women outnumber men in achieving first-class and second-class degrees.

Alison Hodgson, chair of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, questioned whether men were now on the wrong end of gender discrimination.

“We need to make sure that both genders have a good platform and access to education to be successful,” she said. “We need to look at whether there are things that the system or that employers may be doing that discriminate against male students.”

A Department of Trade and Industry equality bill, due at the end of next year, will place a duty on all public bodies to re-evaluate how they are meeting the specific needs of men and women.

The Equal Opportunities Commission said it was clear women were excelling at university, but this was having no impact on equal pay. Its figures show the gender pay gap five years after graduation was 15% and this rose to 38% by the time women reach 55.

Go to Mind the gap for more on the gender pay gap

See Personnel Today’s 13 September 2005 issue for more on the Work Communications report

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