Women in jobs that require the study of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) subjects can earn twice the salary of vocational roles that women have more traditionally pursued, a New South Wales Government report has found.
Girls and women continue to outnumber boys and men at key areas of educational attainment and participation, including Year 12 completions and both undergraduate and postgraduate study.
And yet in graduate positions, men’s salaries average $5,000 a year more than women’s. And in the overall workforce, men are paid $11,000 a year more than women in NSW (a slightly better than the national average of $15,000.)
The numbers are found in the Women in NSW 2014 Report, which analyses 90 areas of women’s lives including health, education, work, leadership and safety.
NSW Minister for Women Pru Goward says the report shows that future economic success and independence of women is underpinned by the choices they make before leaving school.
“There is no magic bullet to solve the gender pay divide, but careers reliant on the study of STEM subjects can earn women up to double the salaries of vocations women have traditionally pursued,” Ms Goward said.
“Girls are 14 percent less likely than boys to study STEM courses at the HSC level. And in undergraduate education, it is similarly bleak at 11 per cent.”
The report shows that over the past decade NSW women have taken leaps and bounds in the rate of school and university completions, but the gender wage gap is still a reality.
“Encouraging girls to study STEM subjects, and work in industries reliant on these skills is critical if we want to see the statistics improve.”
Ms Goward said the second-term of the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity would focus on women’s completion of STEM subjects, as a precursor to women entering into non-traditional careers, as a priority issue.
Incidentally, at risk of pouring cold water on this ambition to encourage more women in to STEM subjects, the idiotic photograph I have illustrated this story with is from the NSW Government’s website publicising the report. No wonder girls are put off.