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Shocking Gender Pay Gap Data Seeks to Drive Action

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By Published On: February 28, 20240 Comments

Gender pay gap data released by the WGEA hopes to drive action as it exposes a persistent inequality issue.

This week, the gender pay gaps for nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers have been published by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The government agency has released the data following government reforms introduced late last year to drive employer action. 

The Minister for Women, Senator Katy Gallagher, said the publication of employer gender pay gaps is a pivotal moment for equality in Australia.

“The release of employer gender pay gaps marks a historic step towards transparency and accountability in addressing gender inequality,” Minister Gallagher said.

“The gender pay gap is a persistent and complex problem that costs the Australian economy $51.8 billion every year,” Minister Gallagher said.

“Transparency and accountability are critical for driving change. By shining a light on gender pay gaps at an employer level, we are arming individuals and organisations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces.”

The WGEA has published base salary and total remuneration median gender pay gaps for private sector employers in Australia with 100 or more employees.

The results show that 30 percent of employers have a median gender pay gap between the target range of -5 percent and +5 percent.

However, 62 percent of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5 percent and in favour of men. 

The remaining 8 percent are less than -5 percent and in favour of women.

Across all employers, 50 percent have a gender pay gap of over 9.1 percent. Australia’s total remuneration average pay gap is 21.7 percent. For every $1 on average a man makes, women earn 78c.

International Women’s Day is next Friday, with the campaign theme being “Inspiring Inclusion.” when taking a look at the workforce composition, the reason for the theme becomes evident. 

According to the data, 78 percent of CEOs are men, and men make up 70 percent of heads of business positions. 26 percent of Boards don’t feature a single woman, and 81 of Chairs are men. 

For all employers, the publication of their pay gaps and workforce composition is an opportunity to assess their performance on gender equality and take action to improve it.

“It is encouraging to see that gender pay gaps for almost one-third of employers are close to gender parity within their workforce,” WGEA CEO Mary Wooldridge said.

“Particularly for those employers whose gender pay gaps are higher than their Industry peers, publication of the results today is a catalyst for action and change,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“The gender pay gap is a widely used, internationally recognised measure for gender equality. Publishing employer’s pay gaps brings transparency to those employers who have low median gender pays gaps and those that don’t.”

“The time for talk and excuses is over. Change takes action and employers need to double down on ensuring all employees are fairly represented and equally valued and rewarded in their workplace.”

Closing this pay gap requires cultural change to remove the barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce. 

Some of the ways that the WGEA recommend business can reduce the gap include:

  • conducting an audit to understand the size of the pay gap
  • reporting the findings to management and employees
  • setting KPIs for leadership to reduce the pay gap
  • taking action to increase the number of women in leadership positions
  • encouraging men to access flexible work arrangements and leave entitlements.

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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