A report from the Higher Education Policy Institute has shown men graduating from university are finding it significantly harder to find a job than women graduates, but are likely to be paid more if they do.

The study found that unemployment for graduates of both sexes increased by a quarter in the last year, rising from 11.1 per cent at December 2008 to 14.0 per cent in December 2009.

Among young male graduates unemployment was 17.2 per cent, compared with female graduates where unemployment was 11.2 per cent.

The research did show however that both men and women who graduated from university experienced similar levels of job quality and job satisfaction.

HEPI said that the reason for the apparent under performance among men was probably linked to "their lower participation in higher education, and their subsequent performance there". Currently around 44 per cent of graduate jobs are held by men, despite the male population being higher, HEPI said.

Despite their underemployment men still enjoy greater pay then women on average. The pay gap, HEPI said, was "substantially" down to subject choices made by men, but could also be attributed to different life choices and discrimination.

During the years of the Labour government, which said it wanted 50 per cent of young people to go to university, the proportion of both young men and women going to university rose.

Between the years 1994-95 and 2004-05 the percentage of men going to university increased from 29 per cent to 32 per cent, while the percentage of women rose from 35 to 40 per cent.