Women who choose not to go to university face bigger salary gap

Women who choose not to go to university are facing a bigger salary gap than men without degrees, new figures show, as Penny Mordaunt says the issue must be tackled.By the age of 29, men who complete higher education earn eight per cent more than men who don’t, according to the Department for Education and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.However, women who complete a degree take home 28 per cent more pay than females who haven’t been to university.Women and Equalities minister, Ms Mordaunt says that while there is a lot of focus on advancing women at the top levels of business, a closer look must be taken at how to help females at the lower end of the pay scale reach their full potential.One of the limitations is the disproportionate number of females in low-wage sectors.  “If we want every woman to thrive, to be as financially secure and resilient as they can be, and to reach their full potential we need to broaden out our work beyond, the FTSE 350, beyond London, beyond executives, women on boards and big business.“We need a focus on small businesses, part time work, women from all parts of the UK, low paid women, women with multiple barriers to reaching their full potential, older women, financially fragile women, women who aren’t easy to reach, or measure, or sometimes even to see. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that while 419,018 men aged between 16 and 29 work full time in the construction industry, only 44,444 women have jobs in that sector. In health and social work, which generally has lower pay, 665,287 women aged between 16 and 29 are employed, compared to 159,101 men.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Another factor is that there are far more women working part time than men. ONS figures show that 1,202,375 UK females aged between 16 and 29 work part time, compared to 785,473 men.The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business campaign has shone a light onto the funding gap that female entrepreneurs face when trying to start a business. Currently, only nine per cent of the venture capital money that pours into UK startups goes to women.In a speech made to Bright Blue’s Women in Business conference, Ms Mordaunt said: “There’s a lot of focus on women in boardrooms. Of course, that is emblematic of the progress women are making, but, in truth, this is not the place where business is being re-imagined.  “The invisible women who keep our families our public services and our nation going.”Ms Mordaunt said that 30% of women who were in low paid jobs in 2006 were stuck in low pay a decade later.Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “I want to see our universities competing on the quality of what they offer, value for money and strong positive outcomes for their students so that every degree is worth the investment.“This landmark research proves that the graduate earnings premium remains robust, even as we have made higher education available to more young people than ever before. Higher education is delivering for students, the taxpayer and the economy, and will continue to do so as long as we focus relentlessly on quality. read more