Postgraduate salaries gap reduced between genders in Australia

The median salaries earned between genders who are postgraduate degree holders are experiencing a narrowing gap throughout the years.
By: | November 27, 2023

While there is still a gap between the wages earned between men and women who completed postgraduate coursework degrees in Australia, the gap between the higher salaries earned by men versus the lower salaries earned by women is steadily narrowing through the years especially when compared to data collected 14 years ago.

This data was revealed in the latest annual federal government-backed graduate outcomes survey from the Australian National University’s Social Research Centre, which saw 130,000 under and postgraduates respond in 2022, and then cross-analysed with data from the past. 

In 2009, female postgraduates working full-time earned 19.2 % less than their male equivalents, at a median salary of A $63,000 (US $41,353.83) annually versus A$78,000 (US $51199.98).

In 2022, this gap was narrowed to 10.8%, with women working full-time earning A $89,200 (US $58551.77) median salary a year compared to A $100,000 (US $65641.00) for men. The median salary for all those completing postgraduate coursework degrees was A $91,600 (US $ 60127.16) in 2022.

The 10.8% gender gap in postgraduate salaries, however, is far greater than the gender gap in undergraduate salaries. Women completing undergraduate degrees who were working full-time earned 3 % less than men in 2022.

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As the data is based on full-time working employees, the research cannot attribute its findings to women having to work part-time currently due to caregiving responsibilities. However, it is theorised that women who are completing postgraduate degrees and working several years into their career have been promoted more slowly, hence earning less than their male counterparts. This is due to the time they have taken out of the workforce (or periods they have worked part-time) in the past to care for children, reported The Australian.