Many female engineers are earning more than their male counterparts, according to a recent report published by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA). The report found that female graduates under 25 in industrial and mechanical engineering earned an average salary of $71,000 during their first year of employment. This is $2,700 more per year than the earnings of their male peers.
These statistics are particularly striking when compared to the overall gender wage gap revealed in the survey. Of all university graduates under 25, the average starting salaries for men were 9.4 per cent higher than those of women.
The report, titled An analysis of the gender wage gap in the labour market 2013, focuses on graduates under 25 during their first year of employment. Statistics are based on the national Graduate Destination Survey which encompasses 23 different fields of tertiary education.
The data also reveals that male graduates in civil engineering roles earn slightly more at the start of their careers than their female counterparts, with a salary average of $63,400 compared to $62,400 for women. This difference is minor when compared to the wage gap favouring male graduates in education, law, nursing and public relations.
Women were largely under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Only 3.7 per cent of women who participated in the survey were engineering graduates, compared to 24.6 per cent of male respondents. Survey results illustrated that a majority of women studied humanities subjects, which ranked lower overall in terms of salary distribution.
These figures are also reflected in a Harvard University study conducted in April 2014, which indicates that the pay gap tended to be much narrower in industries such as engineering and technology.
Edward Lindsey concluded the report by suggesting the implementation of programs and campaign that encourage more women to participate in STEM fields. According to Lindsey, an increase of women in these more traditionally male-dominated disciplines could reduce the wage gap between men and women for future generations.
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