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Gender pay gaps in STEM and other industries

Every year the Workforce Gender Equality Agency reports a range of gender equity indicators for organisations in all industries. This includes STEM-qualified industries.

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Gender pay gaps by industry

Compare the gender pay gap in STEM industries, health industries and all industries.

Data insights

In 2021, the gap between women’s and men’s pay in STEM industries was $26,784, or 18%. This was slightly smaller than in 2020, when the pay gap was $28,994 (19%). In 2016, the gender pay gap, full-time total remuneration (which includes discretionary pay), was 22%, 4 percentage points higher than the 2021 result.

In 2021, 4 STEM industries had a higher dollar pay gap than the average gap for all industries ($25,752). This is compared to 6 STEM industries with a higher pay gap than the average gap for all industries in 2020.

By comparison, the gender pay gap for all industries and health industries remained stable from 2020 to 2021:

  • all industries ($25,354 in 2020 and $25,752 in 2021)
  • health industries ($19,688 in 2020 and $19,792 in 2021).

In 2021, the STEM industries with the largest gender pay gap, full-time total remuneration, were:

  • oil and gas extraction (26%)
  • metal container manufacturing (25%)
  • architectural, engineering and technical services (24%).

Oil and gas extraction also had the largest gender pay gap, full-time total remuneration, in dollar terms: about $74,000, an increase from $55,000 in 2020.

In 2020 the automotive repair and maintenance industry had the smallest full-time total remuneration pay gap of STEM industries, with women earning about 5% less than men. The gap was even smaller in 2019, at 4%. But in 2021 the gender pay gap increased to 15%. However, the automotive repair and maintenance industry had 1 of the 3 smallest full-time total remuneration pay gaps by 2021, with women earning on average $13,964 less than men in the industry.

About the data

In the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC), industries are defined as STEM industries when more than 50% of people in the industry reported a STEM qualification in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

This data is from non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees that reported to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). The 2020–21 WGEA dataset is slightly smaller compared to recent years due to the impacts of COVID-19, changes to the WGEA reporting platform, and changes to the way corporate group organisations report using the new platform. Data is not available for some industries due to insufficient sample sizes.

See how WGEA collects data.

Read more about our methodology and this data.