Women working in STEM are often underpaid, under-represented and unsupported according to a new report.
Women working in one of Australia’s most lucrative job industries say they are being underpaid, under-represented and unsupported.
Women who work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are often underpaid, under-represented and unsupported, according to a new nationwide survey.
Professionals Australia’s ‘Women Staying in The STEM Workforce’ report found that women in the professional, scientific and technical services industry faced a gender pay gap of 22 per cent when compared to their male counterparts.
This is significantly higher than Australia’s national average pay gap of 14.2 per cent.
Women in STEM also frequently felt that they needed to “prove themselves” at work because of their gender, with 62 per cent saying that in their occupation, women have to prove their skills where men are assumed to be capable.
Professionals Australia CEO Jill McCabe said the report’s findings were consistent with her own career journey and experience in the workplace.
“Those who work part-time or flexibly are often seen as less committed to their careers. Being part-time also cuts you off from a lot of progression opportunities,” she said.
“This creates a vicious cycle where fewer women make it into senior, hiring positions and, as a result, fewer women in the workforce have access to professional development or are promoted to more senior roles.”
Women represent just 29 per cent of the university-qualified STEM workforce, and Professionals Australia warned this number was unlikely to rapidly increase anytime soon.
Over one-third of the female STEM workforce surveyed, aged 25 to 35, intended to leave their profession within five years, according to the report.
Female employees in STEM also experienced higher job losses during the Covid-19 crisis than their male colleagues.
Ms McCabe said the report’s findings indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had intensified the attrition of women from STEM fields, and urgent action needed to be taken.
“The survey found that many women in STEM planned to leave the industry, with pay, conditions and a lack of career advancement among the top reasons for doing so. The pandemic has also created a further ‘push’ factor,” she said.
“This confirms that we need urgent organisational changes to ensure the retention of women in STEM fields and that increasing the number of female STEM graduates alone isn’t enough.
“Urgently addressing the gender pay gap and the organisational factors behind the attrition of women from STEM fields must be part of any plan to rebuild the STEM workforce for an equitable post-Covid future.”
Originally published as Women working in STEM are underpaid and want to leave the industry, according to new report
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