The engineering sector did not yield a significant pay gap between men and women, with men expecting to earn €41,719 and women looking for earnings of €41,698.

A recent poll of more than 8,000 Irish graduates revealed that although the current average gender pay gap among Irish graduates is 11pc, it is less than that in both the tech and engineering sectors.

Universum, which is part of the IrishJobs group, surveyed graduates of a variety of university programmes from STEM to humanities in a bid to find out what they expect from employers. The survey results informed the fifth edition of the Most Attractive Employers Index Ireland.

While the male respondents said they expect to earn €40,441 in their first full-time job after graduation, women said that they expect to earn €35,891, an average gap of approximately 11pc. This is the first time the gender pay gap has increased since 2020.

Sector-by-sector, women tech graduates expect to earn 9pc less than their male counterparts. Male tech graduates expect to earn €41,989 while women are looking for a starting salary of €38,240. The engineering sector did not yield a significant pay gap between men and women, with men expecting to earn €41,719 and women looking for earnings of €41,698. These expectations bring the expected average salary for engineering graduates in Ireland to €41,387.

Commenting on the results of the poll and the increase in the overall graduate gender pay gap, Steve Ward, UK and Ireland business director, Universum said that “more work needs to be undertaken by employers to address this issue and achieve greater pay parity”.

He also added that the poll showed that men and women graduates tended to have different expectations and needs for their future careers. Men tended to value financial compensation while women tended to value job security and a friendly working environment. But overall, high future earnings and job security were the top two things all graduates wanted from their future jobs.

“The next generation of graduates is joining a strong jobs market, with the unemployment rate close to a historic low,” said Ward. “In this context, it is unsurprising to see high earnings as the top preference for graduates once again. A rising cost of living indicates that the next generation of graduates are prioritising future financial income, while the tight labour market offers a constructive environment to achieve progress on this ambition.”

“Our findings showed clear differences between male and female graduates in career priorities, with male students prioritising financial compensation more than their female counterparts.

Three quarters of all those surveyed said they were interested in remote working opportunities, which is a 4pc increase on the same stat from last year. Ward said that companies hiring for graduate programmes should be conscious of the needs of the current cohort of graduates to compete effectively for the best talent.

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