in brief: female graduate pay gap doubles
Figures released on Thursday show that the pay gap between male and female graduates has doubled in the last year. The news comes less than two months after the senate passed the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Amendment, which aims to reverse the trend of inequality in the workplace.
Statistics released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) today show that the gap in average pay has grown from $2000 in 2011, to around $5000 in 2012. Men’s starting salaries have grown to $55,000, while women are facing an average of $50,000.
The study examined starting pay packages for 23 occupations, and found that men earn more than women in 13 areas, including architecture, dentistry, and optometry. According to the WGEA, the current pay gap across all industries is 9.1%.
Female graduates were found to earn more across seven occupations, but the gap was found to be less than that in male-dominated fields.
Dr Carla Harris, Research Executive Manager at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency said ‘It is very disturbing that men’s starting salaries have increased over the past year but those of women have not, especially given that women make up the majority of university graduates.’
Dr Harris highlighted the continuing problem of wilful discrimination against young women at the beginning of their careers. She suggested that the fear that women will leave the workplace to have children is a major factor in the devaluation of women’s work. Furthermore, she advocated a more holistic approach to the understanding of families in the workplace, saying ‘it takes two to tango’ and ‘We’ve never seen an immaculate conception and I don’t think that it is something that should become a woman’s issue.’
Women Lawyers Association of Queensland president Kathryn Finlayson commented on the statistics, saying that whatever the future plans of female graduates, the starting pay should be the same across the board.
‘There really is no excuse for paying graduates of equal ability different amounts for the same work simply on the basis of gender,’ she said.
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