OVER a third of female graduates expect a starting graduate salary of £20,000, which falls £10,000 short of the median UK graduate wage of £30,000 per year.

In fact, just 17 per cent of females would expect to earn between £25,000 - £35,000 in their first job, according to new research from Milkround.

This alarming statistic has prompted Milkround, the UK's leading student and graduate career resource, to look at a possible 'lead floor' phenomenon that is prevalent amongst graduating females in the UK.

In opposition to the glass ceiling that remains an issue for women in the workplace, as they progress in their jobs, women may be weighing themselves down on a 'lead floor' before they even set foot on the career ladder by vastly undervaluing themselves.

The Department Of Education's Longitudinal Education Outcomes has revealed that five years into their careers, women earn on average £6,500 less than their male equivalents.* In comparison to women, just 18 per cent of male graduates are prepared to accept a starting graduate salary of £20,000, indicating that men place more value on their skills and knowledge than their female counterparts. This awareness of their value gives them a head start when it comes to their income from the very start of their careers.

The inclination for women to accept a lower salary was recently highlighted in Hollywood with blockbuster Wonder Woman, when actress Gal Gadot's pay cheque of $300,000 for her leading role in the latest DC Comics franchise sparked outrage in the Twitter-sphere with comparisons made to the wage packets that male leads receive in similar superhero movies. Despite this, Gadot expressed that she was 'grateful and happy' with the amount she received for the film that grossed $1 million in its first weekend alone.

In fact, the movie has caused as much of a stir for the gender of the cast and crew as it has for its artistic contribution to filmmaking, which in itself is a huge comment on gender roles in the industry. The fact that Patty Jenkins, the female director on the film, has been talked about as much as the film shows just how rare it is for women to be in high paying positions.

Francesca Parkinson from Milkround said: "Although we're very aware of the existing gender pay gap, it was a surprise for us to see that so many female graduates do not realise their worth when starting their careers, a fact that may contribute to a difference in pay.

"Nearly 85 per cent of female graduates do not know their own value, which may have a knock-on effect in their future earnings. As the UK's largest graduate advice website, we feel a responsibility to empower women in the workplace, helping them to realise their worth and build career confidence."

To learn more about how you can help to reduce the gender pay gap through your recruitment process, visit Milkround