The gender pay gap for graduates is alive and well in many industries across Australia and the tech sector seems to be an offender.
Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) today released a study – drawing on data provided by 8,185 graduates – that found female graduates are earning about 9.4 per cent less (the aggregate gap) than male graduates.
There were 3,103 males and 5,082 females in the study, which looked at the graduate labour market in 2013 by gathering employment outcomes data from recent graduates of all Australian universities, and several non-university higher education providers.
The research found that much of the earnings gap between new male and female graduates was determined by field of education choices often made prior to university enrolment.
It suggested that the ‘aggregate gap’ could be narrowed if females were given more information about career choices and opportunities at school with encouragement to consider training for occupations that are traditionally thought of as male roles.
These included training and occupations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Males’ starting salaries were 4.4 per cent higher than females when the field of education, personal, enrolment and occupational characteristics of both genders were taken into account.
The earning potential of males was driven by many factors, the research found.
The analysis highlighted the overall wage gap favouring males as being due, in part, to an over-representation of males in fields of education that had typically higher starting salaries, such as engineering.
Edwina Lindsay, GCA research associate, said that while the gender wage gap might be explained by inequalities in some workplaces, it could also be explained if additional information not captured within the study was available.
She said that in the later years of females’ careers, males’ earnings can grow at a greater rate.
“While these later salary differences can be related to field of education choices, many factors unrelated to the graduate’s university years, such as age and experience, come into play,” she said.
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