Newly qualified women get a lower starting salary than men

There is a large gap between the average first salary of newly graduated female and male BSc and MSc engineers. This is the result of IDA's salary statistics.

The average starting salary of female graduates in STEM fields is lower than the salaries of their male counterparts.

When female STEM graduates land their first job, they receive on average 1,020 DKK less per month than their male colleagues. This is the result of a new study based on IDA's salary statistics, based on responses from 951 recent graduates in STEM fields. 

If you zoom in on the specific STEM fields, the difference is greatest among IT graduates. Here, there is a pay gap of DKK 3,765 a month. Among Engineering BScs, average starting salaries differ by over DKK 1000 per month. The difference between male and female MScs and Masters of Engineering is less significant, but exists. 

Chairperson of IDA's Council of Employees, Malene Matthison-Hansen, says that the general picture is nothing to celebrate.

"It is unfortunately the same picture every year. When women enter the labour market, their salaies lag behind - and with that, their pension contributions. We know that the bigger the salary gap at the beginning of one's working life, the harder it will be to close the gap over time. One's gender should never come to define one's starting salay" she says.

"We also know that for the members broadly there is a pay difference of around four per cent. in the men's favour, which cannot be explained on the basis of industry, seniority or educational background. There are many indications that women are generally too modest when it comes to salary negotiations. When we ask the students soon to graduate, unfortunately it also turns out that many women have much too low expectations for their starting salary," says Malene Matthison-Hansen.

She therefore encourages the new graduates to make use of all IDA's salary tools, so that you are as well prepared as possible to negotiate salary with your future employer. IDA's salary statistics and IDA's salary calculator are especially useful here.

In addition, you should also always contact the union representatives of the employer you are applying for a job with, so that you are best prepared and have a good knowledge of salary levels.

Salary transparency is another way to combat the difference between women and men's payslips. 

"If we were better at talking openly about pay, and more companies also encouraged openness about pay, then that would be helpful. Fortunately, that will come soon with the recently adopted EU directive, which will require employers to be much more transparent about the salary level towards applicants. It is gratifying, because openness about pay is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to end unequal pay," says Malene Matthison-Hansen.