Professional Scientists Employment and Remuneration Report 2020/21

Media Release
26 October 2020

Professional Scientists Australia has called for future STEM strategies to focus on increasing the participation, retention and career advancement of women after a new report found that female scientists still receive significantly lower pay than males and a higher proportion were preparing to leave the industry compared with males.

The Professional Scientists Employment and Remuneration Report 2020-21 undertaken in conjunction with Science & Technology Australia found that women scientists received just 82.9% of the remuneration received by their male counterparts, and one in five female scientists were planning to leave the science workforce compared with one in six male scientists surveyed.

Professional Scientists Australia CEO Jill McCabe said the report’s findings have deepened concerns that the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis will further exacerbate the under-representation of women in STEM fields and the gender pay gap. “This report confirms that teaching more girls and women STEM skills and increasing the number of female STEM graduates is not enough to solve this problem.

“With a high proportion of female scientists planning to leave the industry, future STEM strategies must focus on improving the participation and retention of women at the workplace level.

Brisbane based medical scientist Katie Havelberg said that the report’s findings were consistent with her experience in the scientific workforce.

“Once female scientists reach a specific level in their career, they often find that opportunities for advancement and access to increased renumeration are significantly limited.

“It’s not surprising that a high number of women compared with men were planning to leave the industry.”

Ms McCabe also said the report found that while base salaries for full time professional scientists grew by 2.2 percent, a large number of scientists had not received any pay increase over the last year and many believed they were not being properly remunerated.

“Over 27% of scientists surveyed hadn’t received a pay increase in the last 12 months and over 36% said their remuneration did not reflect their responsibilities.

“Given the critical role of our scientific, technical and research workforce in the strong public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we owe it to our scientists to ensure they are properly paid and are supported with strong workplace conditions.

“Comprehensively addressing the gender pay gap and the under-representation of women in STEM must be part of any plan to develop a diverse and sustainable STEM workforce for the future.”

Media contact: Darren 0414783405