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Addressing graduate salary inequality

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Women face salary inequality from their very first job.

In fact, female graduates take home on average £1,600 less than men a year after university – a gap that, statistically, will increase as they progress in their careers.

This would indicate that addressing the wider issue means tackling unequal pay at the graduate level.

Many startups are disrupting the status quo and taking steps to tackle the issue of salary inequality from the start, with the view that the situation will improve as these graduates progress in their careers.

We are lucky enough to work with many startups that are beginning to tackle the issue head-on.

We spoke to Anna Roe, from the PropTech startup Airsorted, to hear about how they are changing the game.


1. Why do you think that startups are taking steps to address salary inequality?

“I partially think that this is because of the age demographic of founders of newer companies and them wanting to correct things that they have seen in business before. Also, they don’t hopefully need to fix anything in equal pay – as they can do it from the start.”


2. And what impact do you think that paying fairly at graduate level will have on the future of salary inequality?

“I hope that it means people will be paid fairer – there is a theory that women are less likely to negotiate than men, so men can earn more because they push for it, but if women are paid the same from the off hopefully they will go for the same money because of what they have previously been on.”


3. Finally, what steps do you think businesses can take to address unequal pay at a junior level?

“We have a banding system here at Airsorted, so all roles have a fixed salary. It does not matter whether male or female, the colour of your skin or whether you have a disability, this is what we pay. Therefore there cannot be any bias!”


What we are doing to tackle graduate salary inequality

It’s clear from speaking to Airsorted that many startups are taking steps to address the issue, by being transparent about salary from the graduate level.

This is something we are very passionate about ourselves – and here at Give a Grad a Go, we are actively trying to combat the issue of salary inequality in our office.

We are addressing salary inequality at the graduate level by:


  • Creating an environment where people feel they can speak openly about salary
  • Conducting frequent pay reviews
  • Openly addressing the issue – taking steps to offer development opportunities, autonomy and flexibility
  • Setting up an employee mentoring programme – to encourage the conversation about salary to take place


By being transparent about salary at graduate level and implementing long-term changes to work culture, businesses can begin to address the issue now – and inspire positive change in the future.

According to our recent salary survey, providing equal salaries for similar positions is the number one change graduates think employers can make to build an inclusive workplace.

If you would like any further information on graduate starting salaries, please get in touch.

Looking to hire graduates for your business? We are the UK’s graduate recruitment experts – contact us today to find out more about our services.

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