QUEENSLAND men are commanding the biggest wages across every occupation in the state, out-earning their female counterparts by $18,000 a year on average.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals the scale of the state's gender pay gap with men earning 30 per cent more than women on average and up to 39 per cent more in trade and technical industries.

The median income for Queensland men is $60,143 and $42,095 for women.

Ruby Horsley, 18, is second year apprentice mobile plant technician. Picture: Liam Kidston
Ruby Horsley, 18, is second year apprentice mobile plant technician. Picture: Liam Kidston

Bankwest Curtin Economics associate professor Rebecca Cassells, who oversees gender equity research, said despite increased awareness, the gender pay gap was a "persistent feature" of the labour market.

"We know the gender pay gap is not always about discrimination and there are a lot of drivers, especially in mining states like Queensland and Western Australia where that industry plays a big role," Assoc Prof Cassells said.

"Women tend to concentrate in the lower-paid occupations, particularly in health and caring and men tend to dominate in the higher-paying occupations like construction and mining."

Queensland's pay gap was second only to Western Australia, which recorded a 39 per cent difference while the ACT had the smallest gap of 20 per cent.

The gap has remained reasonably steady in Queensland in recent years with a 1 per cent reduction last year, equating to an annual difference of about $800.

A breakdown of occupational earning by community shows female labourers in inner-city Brisbane are the lowest earners in Queensland, bringing home a median income of $18,230 as opposed to the highest earners - men working in management in western Brisbane who had a median income of $104,789.

Professional men had the highest median income in the state on average, bringing home $88,621, a 22 per cent gap on female earners who took home $68,372 while there was a 32 per cent gap for machinery operators and drivers with men earning $61,196 as opposed to women on $41,139.

Mobile plant technology apprentice Ruby Horsley, 18, said she was well aware of the challenges facing women.

"I know a guy who earns $3 more than me an hour and he's the same age as me and has been in the apprenticeship the same time," she said.

"A lot of the time I've got to convince everyone in the industry I can do a job, but I guess it's part of what you have to do to succeed and survive in the industry. It does get frustrating, but I know it will pay off in the end, especially once more women get into the industry I think it will be a lot better."



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