Tegan* finished her design and advertising course as Dux of her year.
Her lecturer told her cohort of an amazing opportunity with a high-profile brand looking to expand and really invest in design.
They were looking to hire five junior designers, and Tegan felt pretty confident she had a good chance of landing one of those spots given she had actually worked with the company itself while studying as an intern for six months. She had a good understanding of the business and how the design team worked.
So she, and her best friend Robert*, both applied.
"We were both fresh out of university with a few small differences. I had been the Dux of the class and I had also had about 12 months of additional design work experience. He had two weeks placement experience. He was a man, and I was a female," Tegan told Mamamia.
They were both offered positions with the company. The exact same role on paper. But when Tegan and Robert compared their offers there was one blatant difference.
He was offered $50,000 and she was offered $45,000.
"When we both were offered our roles, we were so excited about the possibility of working together in the industry. We had just studied together, gone through so much over the years, and it was an exciting new chapter. When we both opened our emails with our offers, I think we were both surprised... and not in a good way," Tegan said.
Tegan ended up rejecting the offer. She'd already been on the fence, but the discrepancy in pay helped her finalise her decision.
Robert accepted his offer.
In March we were delivered sobering news. It could take another 26 years for Australia's gender pay gap to close.
According to research from Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), humans could be walking on Mars before Australian men and women earn the same amount for the same work.
But as Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons, Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland Business School, told Mamamia, he thinks projections of the pay gap being reduced to zero in the next 26 years are, at the very least, optimistic and seem to be based on the trend over the last five years, which is also misleading.
Watch: What is the gender pay gap? Post continues after video.