Women with degrees earn at least three times as much as non-graduates within a decade of leaving university, according to new research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.
In comparison, male graduates earn around twice those of men without a degree.
The report also revealed that a male graduate earns around 23 per cent more than their female counterparts 10 years on, a smaller difference than the average gap between men and women overall, which is around 33 per cent.
The study used tax records and student loan data for 260,000 people who were at university between 1998 and 2011 and whose earnings were looked at for the tax year 2011-12.
For example, 10 years after gaining a degree, 10 per cent of male graduates were taking home more than £55,000 a year, five per cent were earning more than £73,000 and one per cent were earning more than £148,000.
In comparison, 10 per cent of graduate women were on more than £43,000 a year, five percent were earning more than £54,000 a year and one per cent more than £89,000.
The study also showed that the recent recession had an impact on people in their 20s and early 30s, but that women saw a slight drop in their salaries.
However, graduates did fare adding that the fall in earnings “are proportionally bigger for non-graduates than for graduates, suggesting higher education provided some protection from this major economic shock.”
Research economist at the IFS Jack Britton said: “This study shows the value of a degree, in terms of providing protection from low income and shielding graduates from some of the negative impact of the recent recession on their wages. We find this to be particularly true for women.”