Female graduates expect up to 14pc less salary than male counterparts as pay gap widens year-on-year.
New research has found that female graduates in Ireland expect to earn up to 14 per cent (pc) less than their male counterparts annually.
This is according to new 2020 global talent market research by Irishjobs.ie in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum.
The research, which was conducted among 11,769 students across the areas of business, IT, health, engineering and law, reveals a significant difference in the annual salary expectations of male and female graduates, particularly stark in the fields of law (12pc), business (10.5pc), and engineering (6pc).
When it comes to the highest starting salary expectations, graduates in the IT field have the highest expectations, considering €37,579 to be an appropriate starting salary, a 4pc increase on the 2019 figure.
Looking at the gender split, male graduates in this area expect 14pc or €5,008, more than female graduates of IT per year. Male graduates consider €39,409 an appropriate starting salary, while female graduates expect €34,401 per year on average.
Law graduates also have significantly differing salary expectations, with female graduates expect up €5,037 (12pc) less pay per year than their male counterparts, who expect €41,339 per year, marking a 4pc increase on 2019’s salary expectations.
“Despite the increased level of scrutiny on gender pay disparity, it is concerning to see that not only does a gap remain, it is widening instead of shrinking”
A significant gap also exists among business graduates, with male graduates expecting up to 10.5pc higher salaries than their female counterparts. Male gradiuates in this area said they expect a salary of €36,017, while female graduates expect €32,213 per year.
Worringly, the pay gap between males and females is widening rather than shrinking. When compared to last year’s findings, the research shows a 4pc increase in the largest salary expectation gap between male and female graduates.
This is despite the significant progress being made by many companies icluding Bank of Ireland, Google and PwC to close the gap by introducing career development and leadership programmes for female workers and flexible working options to ensure equality and allow for more female representation at senior leadership level.
“Despite the increased level of scrutiny on gender pay disparity, it is concerning to see that not only does a gap remain, it is widening instead of shrinking,” said Orla Moran, general manager at IrishJobs.ie.
“Our 2020 Universum research implies that gender pay disparity starts before graduates even enter the working world, with male graduates immediately expecting a stronger starting salary of between 6pc and 14pc more than their female peers.
“For employers, one of the most important steps to take in addressing pay disparities within their own organisation, is to ensure that their employer brand incorporates a clear and meaningful commitment to gender pay equality.
“Changes like providing salary information on job descriptions or being clear about pay scales at the start of the recruitment process, are some ways in which an organisation can demonstrate their commitment to fair and equal pay, which in turn will help to attract the best talent.
The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill is set to be signed into law later this year. Under the new legislation, companies who employ more than 250 people will be required to publish data on differences in gender pay and bonus and outline how they will tackle any potential disparity.
For male and female graduates exploring potential job opportunities at the companies to which this legislation applies, it will provide a new level of transparency and insight into the programmes in place to tackle any gender pay disparities.
“For employers, one of the most important steps to take in addressing pay disparities within their own organisation, is to ensure that their employer brand incorporates a clear and meaningful commitment to gender pay equality”
It could even spark a shift in expectations among graduates, particularly among female graduates, who could be more likely to consider working for companies with a narrower gender pay gap or better programmes in place to address the issue.
“Ahead of the introduction of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill later this year, small actions by individual companies now are a good first step to ensuring that the gender pay gap shrinks rather than grows, and that our graduates and future leaders feel empowered to reach their full potential, regardless of gender.
“While education institutions could consider how they can support female students so they start their careers with similar salary expectations to their male counterparts,” she finished.
By Stephen Larkin
Published: 23 September, 2020