Feb 15, 2018

Survey Explores Gender Wage Gap Perceptions

Men expect to earn more than women in all 29 countries surveyed for the Cost of Talent in 2017 by Universum Global, an employer branding company located in Stockholm, Sweden. The company asked 533,351 graduating students in business and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) about salary expectations for their first job.

This finding highlights the continuing gender wage gap between men and women. In the United States, the gap in general business is about $5,000 and in STEM is more than $6,000.

Outside the U.S., business students in Malaysia, Sweden, and Canada have the smallest gap in salary expectations. Business students in Russia, India, and Spain expect the largest difference. STEM students in Sweden, Malaysia, and Singapore reported the smallest expected salary difference, while students in Netherlands, Canada, and Indonesia expect the largest gap.

“There is no clear-cut explanation as to why male talent have continued to demand and negotiate higher salaries,” states the report. “If female talent do not demand higher wages during negotiations, the gap will not be narrowed unless employers are proactive and voluntarily provide higher wages to women without being asked for them.”

The report goes on to say employers who take steps to close the gender wage gap could enhance their employer brand. These employers will likely attract more top women candidates and create a positive impression among their female customers.

Other findings from the Universum survey include:

  • Salary expectations increase based on the size of the employer.
  • Among business students, the U.S. ranks third in projected salaries, behind Switzerland and Denmark.
  • In all countries except the United Kingdom and Russia, STEM students anticipate earning more than business students. The biggest expected differences are in Brazil and Canada. U.S. STEM students expect about $3,000 more than business students — around $56,000 for business and $59,000 for STEM.
  • Business students planning to work in Aerospace & Defense, Real Estate, and Financial Services had the highest salary expectations. STEM students with the highest salary expectations planned to work in Financial Services, Aerospace & Defense, and Management & Strategy Consulting.

The purpose of the survey is to help employers understand student expectations worldwide and provide insights on how to attract, recruit, and retain talent.

The findings reported in this article are from an abridged version of the survey results. The complete survey report is only available to members of Universum Global.

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About the author

Carol Wiley
Carol Wiley started her writing career as a technical writer for Boeing. Since then, she's written blog posts, case studies, white papers, and more for businesses large and small. These days, Carol is a regular contributor to Lendio News. Carol has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of Virginia and both an MBA in Finance and Certificate of Technical Writing from University of Washington.

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