Call for employer action to close gender pay gap

| September 4, 2018

Equal Pay Day fell on Friday 31 August this year, marking the additional 62 days that women had to work to earn the same amount as men did on 30 June this year.

“Although the gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years at 14.6%, Equal Pay Day is an important reminder that women still face major obstacles in accessing equivalent financial rewards for their work as men,” said Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

“Women’s work is undervalued and this prevents them from reaching their full potential in the workplace. This is detrimental for both individual women and the economy. It is shameful that Australian women working full-time need to work for, on average, an additional two months to earn what men earned in a year.”

The Agency is calling on all employers to take action to close gender pay gaps in their organisation and support women’s increased participation in the workplace, particularly their progression into senior and non-traditional roles.

“Employer action on addressing pay equity has played a key role in reducing the gender pay gap. I urge all Australian employers to take action now.

“Do a pay gap analysis. Report the results to the executive and board. Pay gaps close when leaders see the numbers. If every employer did this, the pay gap would be history,” said Ms Lyons.

The national gender pay gap

The national gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.

Using the latest Average Weekly Earnings data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has calculated the national gender pay gap as 14.6% for full-time employees, a difference of $244.80 per week.

Research shows the main factors contributing to the gender pay gap are discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions and women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages.

Other factors include women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work and a lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles.  The greater time which women spend out of the workforce due to family responsibilities affects their career progression and opportunities, and therefore their pay.

The national gender pay gap is 14.6%, having declined from 15.3% in the past 12 months.  On average, women working full-time earned $1433.60 while men working full-time earned $1678.40.  The full-time average weekly earnings difference between women and men is therefore $244.80.