Women in the science, technology engineering and math (STEM) fields disproportionately wind up in lower-paying technical roles than higher paid professional ones, according to a new report by TD Economics.
Roles in the STEM fields are in high demand and pay higher incomes than many other professions. That means it will be difficult to close the overall gender wage gap if women don't make stronger inroads in these industries, according to the report.
There are four men for every one woman graduating with a bachelor's degree in engineering, the report notes. That figure has hardly changed in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, in math and computer sciences, there are three men for every woman graduate - a ratio that the study says has actually worsened from two decades ago.
STEM jobs can be divided into two broad categories: technical roles and professional roles. Progressing from a technical role to a professional one often requires additional education such as a university degree, according to the report.
Women in professional STEM roles earn 30 to 37 per cent more than those in technical roles. However, the study notes that women with university degrees are overrepresented in technical roles, at about one third. (That compares to 21 per cent for men.)
"It's not sufficient for a company to take an active role in implementing initiatives to provide greater job opportunities to women within STEM fields," the report says.
"Employers need to look inward to review whether hiring biases are occurring by asking and measuring the most basic of questions: Are employees right-skilled to their education and skill levels? Are development and professional opportunities provided equally to individuals?"