Female graduates expect to earn up to 14% less than male counterparts

Women graduating in Ireland expect to earn significantly less in the fields of IT (14%), law (12%) and business (10.5%)
Female graduates expect to earn up to 14% less than male counterparts

New research suggests that the salary expectation gap is widening rather than shrinking among Irish graduates, despite increased focus on pay disparity in recent years.

Female graduates expect to earn up to 14% less than their male counterparts annually, according to new research by Irishjobs.ie.

The study, which was conducted in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum, surveyed 11,769 students across the areas of business, IT, health, engineering and law.

In all areas, women graduating in Ireland expect to earn significantly less than their male counterparts in the fields of IT (14%), law (12%), business (10.5%), and engineering (6%).

The research suggests that the salary expectation gap is widening rather than shrinking, despite increased focus on pay disparity in recent years.

When compared to last year’s findings, the research shows a 4% increase in the largest salary expectation gap between male and female graduates (14% vs 10% in 2019).

Salary Expectations 

Graduates in IT have the highest starting salary expectations among those surveyed, considering €37,579 to be an appropriate starting salary, a 4% increase on 2019 figures.

Looking at the gender split, male graduates of IT expect 14% more annually than female graduates. Male graduates consider €39,409 an appropriate starting salary, while female graduates expect €34,401 per year on average.

Female law graduates expect €36,302 per year, while their male counterparts expect €41,339 per year. This marks a 4% increase in the gap evident between female and male law graduate salary expectations in 2019.

A significant gap is evident among business graduates too, with male graduates expecting up to 10.5% (€3,804) higher salaries than their female counterparts, with each gender looking for €36,017 and €32,213 per year respectively.

Male graduates immediately expect a stronger starting salary of between 6% and 14% more than their female peers.
Male graduates immediately expect a stronger starting salary of between 6% and 14% more than their female peers.

Gender pay gap 

Orla Moran, General Manager at IrishJobs.ie, said it is concerning to see the salary expectation gap widening despite the increased level of scrutiny on gender pay disparity.

“Our 2020 Universum research implies that gender pay disparity starts before graduates even enter the working world,” she said.

“Male graduates immediately expect a stronger starting salary of between 6% and 14% more than their female peers.” 

Ms Moran said one of the most important steps employers can 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.” 

“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,” she said.

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