Equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all

Tuesday 9 March 2010, 8:00AM
By Pansy Wong

A recent study by the Ministry of Women's Affairs has revealed that only one year after entering employment an income gap of up to six percent develops between men and women with a bachelor's qualification or above.

The study examined differences in income between male and female graduates one and five years after entering employment following completion of a level 7 (bachelor's degree) or higher qualification by looking at income data from Inland Revenue.

Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong says the findings of the study have established a clear difference in income between men and women who graduate within the same fields of study after five years, varying from just one percent for graduates in society and culture to 20 percent for graduates in management and commerce.

"While the income gap varies between different fields of study, no matter what area of study is pursued an income gap has emerged between men and women after five years, and it is quite a significant gap," Mrs Wong says.

Last year the Ministry received an extra $2 million over four years to boost capacity to address the gender pay gap.

Part of this will see the Ministry partnering with universities to recruit 5000-6000 students intending to graduate this year as part of a longitudinal study. The study will track these graduates over the next 10 years and provide insights we have not had before in terms of their employment outcomes.

"The bottom line is that a bachelor's degree held by a woman should be worth the same in the marketplace as one held by a man."