Gender Earnings Gap Among Post-Secondary Graduates

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This inforgraphic shows the earning disparities between men and women 5 years after post-secondary graduation.

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Gender Earnings Gap Among Post-Secondary Graduates

Findings from a new Canadian report show that five years after graduation from publicly funded colleges and universities, women earn less than men in every credential (e.g. college certificates, doctoral degrees) and every field of study (e.g. sciences, humanities, engineering).1

Gender differences persist in earnings even when accounting for education level and preferences for field of study.

Gender differences in earnings of post-secondary graduates

Years Since Graduation Average Earnings for Men (2016 Constant $) Average Earnings for Women (2016 Constant $) Percentage Difference between Earnings
1 $46,400 $40,700 12%
2 $54,600 $45,500 17%
3 $60,500 $48,500 20%
4 $65,300 $50,300 23%
5 $69,700 $52,000 25%


One year after graduation, women on average earn 12% ($5,700) less than men. Five years later, that gap widens to 25% ($17,700).

While all fields of study displayed a gender gap at the fifth year, the extent of that gap did differ:

  • Women with a bachelor’s degree in Health and related fields (e.g. Nursing, Public Health, Social Work) earn 1.9% ($1,300) less than men

    (84.6% of graduates in this credential and field were female)

  • Women with college-level certificates and diplomas in Education (e.g. Early Childhood Education, Educational Support) earn about 45% ($28,500) less than men

    (84.5% of graduates in this credential and field were female)

  • Women with master's degrees in Business, Management, and Public Administration earn 32% (nearly $40,000) less than men

    (49.1% of graduates in this credential and field were female)

Put these numbers in context: Learn more about gender inequity

The Gender Equity Issue-Based Newsletter explores how gender intersects with systems of marginalization to produce challenges in achieving an equal society.

The Unfinished Business Report shares Canada's progress on meeting the goals for gender equality set out in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

[1] Finnie, R., Miyairi, M., Dubois, M., Bonen, T., & Amery, B. (2019). How much do they make? New evidence on the early career earnings of Canadian postsecondary education graduates by credential and field of study. Ottawa, ON: Education