Women graduating in Ireland expect to earn up to 14 per cent less than their male counterparts annually, according to new data.
The research, 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 men and women graduates, particularly stark in the fields of law (12 per cent), business (10.5 per cent), and engineering (6 per cent).
The research, carried out by Irishjobs.ie reveals that graduates in IT have the highest starting salary expectations among those surveyed, considering €37,579 to be an appropriate starting salary, a 4 per cent increase on 2019 figures.
Looking at the gender split, men graduates of IT expect 14 per cent or €5,008 more than women graduates of IT per year.
Men consider €39,409 an appropriate starting salary, while women expect €34,401 per year on average.
Graduates in law also have significantly differing salary expectations.
Women expect up to 12 per cent (€5,037) less pay per year (€36,302) than their male counterparts.
This marks a 4 per cent increase on the gap in salary expectations in 2019.
A significant gap is also evident among business graduates too, with men expecting up to 10.5 per cent higher salaries than women, with each gender looking for €36,017 and €32,213 per year respectively.
The research suggests that the pay gap between men and women is widening rather than shrinking.
When compared to last year’s findings, the research shows a 4 per cent increase in the largest salary expectation gap between graduates.
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.
Orla Moran, general manager at IrishJobs.ie, said: “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.
“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 6 per cent and 14 per cent more than their female peers.
“It is even more concerning to see that this is a marked increase on the previous year’s expectations – with the salary gap widening by 4 per cent on 2019 figures to almost €5,400.
“The gap is most evident in the IT sector, despite the significant investments made by both Irish firms and global multinationals to encourage more women at both undergraduate level to consider a career in the field of Stem.
“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.”