Women graduates earning less

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Female graduates are earning 16 per cent less than their male counterparts and the gap between the sexes is continuing to grow, a student survey reveals. The research, carried out by Barclays Bank, claims the average starting salary for men is pounds 13,660, while women get just pounds 11,749. And while London graduates are fairly affluent, those working in the Midlands have the worst wages in the country.

Despite 9 per cent more women achieving top-class degrees in 1996 than the previous year, almost twice as many men than women are in graduate training schemes which tend to offer higher salaries. There is some good news, however. The increase in graduates' debt appears to be slowing, with just a 9 per cent rise to an average pounds 3,203, compared to a 31 per cent rise in 1995. Nicole Veash