A statement by Graduate Careers Australia has said the pay gap between male and female graduates is actually much smaller than widely reported.
The not-for-profit agency, run is part by funds from the higher education sector, said in a statement on Friday that the figures put out by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, a government statutory authority, had taken an “over simplistic” view of graduate pay scales. “The large $5,000 pay gap favouring males observed at the overall level can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that males tend to be over-represented in higher-paying fields such as engineering,” the statement said.
It added that some of the larger wage gaps in fields which received a low number of insider responses, such as dentistry, could be unreliable.
The report in question said the annual gender salary gap had risen from $2,000 a year in 2011 to $5,000 in 2012. Graduate Careers Australia said it was “entirely supportive” of equality in the workplace but equally concerned that some employers face being unfairly painted as discriminatory towards incoming new recruits. It accepted that a “residual pay gap” could be a result of workplace inequality but could also be explained by other factors.
The Workplace General Equality Agency denied it had wrongly represented or misinterpreted the data.