Research workforce composition
In 2017, Australian Research Council data showed that women made up 44% of the university research workforce in Australia by headcount. But only 29% of people working in STEM fields in universities were women.
This data also shows that, while some STEM fields had more balanced representation of women and men at junior levels, representation of women at senior levels was extremely low across STEM fields. In 2017, women comprised only 12% of the most senior positions by headcount. This included:
- 8% in engineering
- 9% in earth sciences
- 9% in mathematical sciences.
Representation was also low in the broader research workforce, with women occupying only 25% of the highest positions across all fields in 2017.
About the data
The university research workforce encompasses people who work in higher education settings. They are classified from academic level A (most junior) to academic level E (most senior). These are standardised employment levels across all Australian universities. Position titles aligned to academic levels may vary between institutions. Because of this, our data does not include position titles when presenting academic levels.
Department of Education data
Department of Education data on this page includes those in teaching and research functions and staff levels A to E only. It shows headcount and full-time equivalent (by gender) for fields of education at the 2-digit level under the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). Research-only staff are not captured because they are not assigned to any field of education. This means the total workforce is larger than presented.
The latest year’s staff data is an estimate based on the previous year’s student data. This will result in changes to staff counts between Monitor iterations as estimated data is adjusted to actual data. This is also the case for full time equivalent data, where estimated casual data is retrospectively updated with actual casual data each year.
ARC’s research workforce data is from their Gender and the Research Workforce report. It shows staff headcount (all employees, including those working on a casual and part-time basis) and the full-time equivalent number of staff. This dataset also shows non‑academic staff.
The ARC data classifies fields of research using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) at the 2-digit and 4-digit level. This classification has 3 levels. Division is the broadest level and is classified by 2 digits. Group is a more detailed level and is classified by 4 digits.
We have not updated the ARC data since the 2020 STEM Equity Monitor. Updates will follow data collection for the next ARC Gender and the Research Workforce report.
Read more about our methodology and this data.