New research shows why Education matters for pay parity and senior level progression

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“Perhaps addressing the issues raised by the research is the answer to transforming female under-representation in Ireland’s Boardroom and Senior Management while empowering women to seek – and get – the equal pay they deserve”, this is according to Padraig Hourigan, President, Independent College Dublin ( reflecting on the findings of new research for the college, conducted by Amarach.

This reports that the majority of female respondents believe that there are significant barriers to their career progression, all of which were perceived to be higher barriers for women, but that having a third level qualification and access to further education was critical to their professional and economic development and an important confidence boost for salary and promotion negotiations.

The College, striving to its goal of improving accessibility and encouraging more women to go on to feel assured in developing their career have announced a full scholarship worth €8,500* in a Level 9 Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution in partnership with the 30% Club.

When asked about 4 key barriers to women progressing to senior management in our research, our findings identified them as:
• Not having a third level qualification relevant to their current role /87% of women and 82% of total respondents believed this
• Not having enough experience due to time out for personal reasons family or otherwise /89% of women and 84% of total respondents believed this
• Insufficient education and training options available that offer flexible options / 90% of women and 87% of total respondents believed this
• Not having the confidence to put themselves forward / 92% of women felt this vs 84% males
• On average these four barriers were less of an issue for male respondents by a factor of up to 9%
• 74% of females feel that having a degree is a confidence booster when it comes to getting paid the same as their male counterparts
• 84% of all respondents believe that having a third level education is important to progress in their field
• Access and support with training an education is more influential for females than males and among the 25-44 age cohort

About the College
Independent College Dublin is a specialist college with more than 700 academic students and almost 300 professional students at its city centre Campus offering business and law related programmes that help people become critical thinkers and change leaders. For more information visit

30% Club Scholarship Programme Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution

The Independent College Dublin Scholarship Programme Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution in partnership with 30% Club offers professional opportunities in the corporate, legal, educational, political, HR, health, and community settings. Its MA is Level 9, QQI approved and includes arbitration, mediation, conflict coaching and negotiation across sectors including commercial, construction, and workplace.
The course is currently offered over one year, based on 15 hours per working week. This scholarship allows for completion over two years, thus reducing the working week requirement, and it’s hoped to add an evening option later this year. Ideally, applicants should have an upper second-class honours degree (Level 8) but this does not have to be in a legal discipline. The value of the scholarship is up to €8,500* and applications must be submitted by June 26 for consideration.

Ruth Hussey, Country Lead, 30% Club and Partner, Arthur Cox said : “The 30% Club believes that gender balance on boards and in senior management not only encourages better leadership and governance, but diversity further contributes to better all-round board performance, and ultimately increased corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders. We’re delighted to welcome Independent College Dublin to the 30% Club Scholarship Programme with such a topical course as their MA in Dispute Resolution. In Ireland, our Scholarship Programme continues to attract generous support across all national education providers and allows us to offer opportunities in Business, STEM and Leadership in Healthcare.”

Census 2016
According to the 30% Club, the census of 2016 showed that women made up 53% of the students graduating from third level education, with a quarter of those students studying business, administration and law. Yet the numbers of women moving on to post graduate and executive education is dramatically reduced, and at the same time, the percentage of women in very senior business roles, including CEO and Board roles is progressing at a very slow rate. That’s why the 30% Club has established partnerships with a number of learning institutions to address the under-representation of women pursuing post-graduate management education, by offering scholarships aimed at women.