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Gender pay gap decreasing for graduates, but still significant: study

File Source: AAP

Women are closing the gender pay gap due to a rise in mothers staying in the workforce after having children.

The pay gap between men and women coming out of university is decreasing, but still remains significant.

That's the summary of a new report looking into financial outcomes of university graduates.

Female graduates are expected to earn 27 per cent less than men - or $750,000 less - during their career.

The study from the Grattan Institute shows the gap was 30 per cent in 2008, which marks a three per cent drop in a decade.

The institute's Andrew Norton says the wage growth can be put down to more women with children remaining in the workforce.

"As paid maternity leave has become more widely available, more women are choosing to stay employed when they become mothers," Mr Norton said.

"As subsidies make childcare more affordable for women returning to work, more are doing so full-time.

"Gender equality in the workforce is not yet a reality in Australia, but it's slowly getting closer."

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The study also found graduates, men and women, are getting less financial benefit from their degrees than five years earlier.

For those aged between 25 and 34-years-old, average earnings for males completing bachelor degrees fell by three per cent to just more than $50,000.

Nursing and education graduates are better off than those who have studied science and commerce courses, the report said.

But Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said "a sizeable wage benefit still exists for the generation of younger graduates".

"Graduates continue to earn higher wages both over their lifetimes and in the first decade of their career after graduation," Ms Jackson said.

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