Pay Gap: Male scientists earn more than female counterparts
This article was originally published in The Australian | By Julie Hare | THE AUSTRALIAN | 12.00AM NOVEMBER 23, 2016
Male scientists earn on average $21,000 a year more than their female colleagues, irrespective of job function.
An annual employment and remuneration report of professional scientists found men earned an average salary of $117,500 compared with women, who earned just $96,500.
While the survey found a clustering of women in low-paid, low-status scientific work, where there was little gender pay difference, the pay gap came into full light further up the career ladder. At entry-level jobs, men and women earned an average of $67,000. But at more senior levels, men earned $170,000 compared with women’s $149,500.
The gap gets even wider when salary packages are taken into account. Men attract an average of $135,900 compared with $112,400 for women.
The survey, by Professional Scientists Australia in conjunction with Science & Technology Australia, found a mix of job uncertainty, overwork and the deprofessionalisation of some roles were all taking a toll on morale, despite wage increases during the past year.
“There are so many valuable programs to improve gender equity in science and academia, and this persistent pay gap is just one stark demonstration of why we need to keep working at this,” STA chief executive Kylie Walker said.
“It’s no secret that the further up the ranks in science you go, the fewer the women you find.
“If we are to reverse the trend that keeps women out of senior leadership in science, ensuring equal pay for equal work is one very simple and important measure that employers of scientists can take.”
Ms Walker said the survey revealed cost-cutting in organisations was having an adverse effect on morale and on scientists’ belief they could perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
About one-third of respondents said they were considering leaving their present job, citing pay, lack of professional development and poor work-life balance as contributing factors.
“Seven in 10 respondents said cost-cutting is impacting the science capability of their organisation, and around four in 10 said staffing levels are not keeping pace with the workload,” Ms Walker said.
The survey also found that holding a PhD held a remuneration premium of about 30 per cent. Botanists, food scientists and mathematicians were the most highly paid fields.
Opposition science and research spokesman Kim Carr said the survey revealed too little was being done to address the gender pay gap. “The Liberal government has treated scientists with disdain since coming to power, and the salary gender gap illustrates perfectly how their hollow rhetoric is not matched by action,” he said. “How can the government expect to recruit more women into science when it pays them less, creates a low-morale environment and undermines job security?”