Women earn less than men right after graduation, gap widens over time

By: Zandile Chiwanza on January 16, 2020

It's no secret that men earn more than women, now we know they also get a head start. 

New research shows that not only do men earn more than women, the difference in earnings starts straight after graduation and widens to $17,700 (or 25%) five years following graduation. 

The research presented in a report called, How Much Do They Make?, also shows women earn on average 12% (or $5,700) less than men one year after graduation for students across all credential levels taken together.

The report published on Tuesday by the non-profit Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) partnered with the Education Policy Research Institute (EPRI) based at the University of Ottawa to provide in-depth evidence on the labour market earnings of post-secondary education (PSE) graduates.

In every field of study researched, women earn more than men in only three cases in the first year after graduating. By the fifth year, women earn less than men in every case.

“What was most surprising to me was that 5 years out, women earned less than men in every field of study and credential -- some 51 combinations,” Steven Tobin, executive director of the LMIC tweeted

“I didn’t think the earnings gap between men and women was so widespread (every credential and every field of study),” he explained.

The report revealed that women with college-level certificates and women with master’s degrees earn, respectively, 21.1% ($8,600) and 17.6% ($12,800) less than their male counterparts. 

Specifically, the earnings gap is the largest for college-level certificate holders in education — women earn 46% ($28,500) less after five years. For master's degree holders in business, women earn $39.6K less after five years.

Overall, women with a doctoral degree earn 10.3% ($6,500) less than men with the same credential in the first year after graduation. This difference grows to 16.0% ($14,300) five years later.

The earnings gap is the lowest for bachelor's degree graduates in health and related fields. The gap is only 2% less after five years. 

Interestingly enough a study by Statistics Canada released earlier this week, says men living in Toronto haven't seen their wages increase since 2000.

“Wages for men were hit particularly hard, especially in cities that bore the brunt of the decline in manufacturing jobs, such as Toronto, Oshawa and Windsor. Between 2000 and 2015, men’s wages were flat or in decline in those cities,” the Toronto Star reported. 

However, the same report notes that “wages for men across Canada rose by an average of 13 per cent” reminding us that women still face greater hurdles in the labour market than men do.