MONTREAL -- Men make more than women, on average, straight out of university, a new study has found.

Women earn, on average, 12 per cent less than men in the year after graduating university, the study, commissioned in part by the labour market information council, found. Five years after graduating, on average, men make 25 per cent more money annually than women. The study also found that those with a university education earn more than those without one.

"In looking at those five years after graduation the earnings differential were widespread, so, in looking at various credentials--fields of study in which there are 51 combinations essentially--women earn less than men in every single case," said Steven Tobin, one of the reports' authors.

The findings were surprising, said Cassie Rheaume, general manager at Lighthouse Labs, a web development company.

"We tend to think that things are changing going in the right direction, and people are less biased than they were before," she said.

Part of the reason for the differential, she suspected, was that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries.

"They are eager. ... They're happy. They're really eager to start, but once they're hired, they tend to accept the offer," she said.

Andrea Gunraj, vice president of public engagement at The Canadian Women's Foundation, argued that the issue is systemic.

More women work lower-paying jobs, and many have limited access to affordable child care, she said. It's up to employers to treat employees equitably, she said.

"It's up to the leader in that company to be able to see that something is going on here and say no, we're going to offer you more because we want to make sure there is parity for our sake; for the fairness of our workplace. Not just for you but for us to have a better environment," she said.