UCU responds to Institute for Fiscal Studies' graduate earnings report

13 April 2016 | last updated: 12 April 2016

UCU said today that persistent inequalities in graduate earnings show the need for radical action to reform university admissions.

UCU was responding to a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), How English-domiciled graduate earnings vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socio-economic background, which outlines the impact that institution and family background can have on future earning prospects of students. The union said that better careers advice and a fairer system of university admissions are both key to reducing the impact of family background on life chances.

The report's findings on the gender pay gap echo research for UCU's Rate for the Job online tool, which illustrates huge pay differences for staff within the higher education sector in relation to gender and institution.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'While we welcome the evidence in the IFS report that shows the financial benefits of studying in higher education, we are concerned that it is still clear that background and gender play an unfair role in the earnings of our current graduates and future students. Our own research has also pointed to the impact of gender and location on wages for graduates working in academia.

'The report is a wake-up call for policy makers and employers, who must do more to level the playing field and ensure that future generations of students are not hindered by social background or by which institution they attended. Improving careers advice and introducing a fairer system of university admissions are key steps towards reducing these persistent inequalities at graduate level.'

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