Female university graduates have bigger Hecs debts but earning less than men, research reveals

Average student debt balance has risen 10% and taking longer to pay off, affecting major life events such as starting a family

Female university graduates in Australia are earning less than men while racking up more debt from their degrees, new research reveals.

The Futurity Investment Group’s university debt report, which surveyed more than 1,000 Australian graduates, found 70% of males earned more than $60,000, compared with 59% of women. Men were also more likely to be earning more than $100,000 (35% compared with 21% of women).

At the same time, nearly half (46%) of female graduates finished university with a Hecs (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) or Help (Higher Education Loan Program) debt of between $20,000 – $50,000, a rise of 14% in three years and slightly higher than men (43%).

Kate Hill, an executive at Futurity Investment Group, says the type of courses that have higher proportion of women tend to lead to lower paying professions, despite the cost of education being similar to other degrees.

“The outcome as far as job opportunity and career growth, coupled with traditional family roles where females tend still to be the partner who takes time off for care, combine to form what we’re seeing now,” she said.

“A lot of the traditional female professions – teaching and nursing – over the last 40 years have become professionalised, requiring university degrees and gathering debt. Traditional male trades haven’t been – and they’re cheaper, you’re paid as you go through that process.”

To learn more: The Guardian

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