Men out-earning women by $27k

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Yesterday, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) released data that showed men are out-earning women in Australia by a massive $27,000 every year.

The data covers four million workers around Australia, and although it suggests that there has been some progress towards workplace gender equality, the pay gap persists across industries, occupations and management categories.

This year’s release is the second annual set of data to be collected by the WGEA. It covers 12,229 employers, and represents 40% of the Australian workforce.

The findings
According to the WGEA, Australia has an overall gender pay gap of 24% on average full-time total remuneration – this includes bonuses, allowances and superannuation.

This represents a difference of $27,254 a year.

Although the pay gap is arguably high, it was found to have decreased from the gap found in last year’s data.

One of the contributing issues to the wider disparity was that the top levels of management remain heavily male dominated.

Just 15.4% of CEO positions were held by women, while just over a quarter of key management personnel (KMP) roles were held by women.

However, there has been some improvement: the number of female managers grew by 0.6% across all management categories.   

Researchers also found that women work part-time at three times the rate of men.

Although almost half of the workforce (48.8%) is female, just one in five full-time workers are women.

A key issue appears to be that just 6.3% of management roles are part-time.

Gradual progress
Although the data suggests that there is still a long way to go for Australia to close the gender pay gap, it also revealed that there is measurable progress being made.

The percentage of employers with a gender equality strategy in place grew by 2.3% over the last year.

Increases were also recorded in the proportion of employers conducting gender pay gap analyses, introducing policies or strategies for flexible working and supporting employees experiencing domestic violence.

Libby Lyons, the WGEA’s director, said the data provided the first comprehensive time-series data on the status of gender equality in Australian workplaces.

“This data leads the world in providing a comprehensive picture of what’s happening for women and men across industries and all levels of the workforce,” she said.

“It is eye-opening to see the scale of the gender equality challenge. The data provides insights into where action is needed and a yardstick against which we can track progress.

“I’m encouraged to see pay gaps inching lower, women’s representation in leadership roles inching higher and leading employers start to dismantle the structural and cultural barriers to women and men’s equal participation at all levels of the workplace.”

This week, the WGEA provided each reporting organisation with a tailored benchmark report that compares its performance on pay and management representation by gender against their industry.

“While the national data gives us a snapshot of what’s happening around Australia, it’s up to each organisation to take action to build inclusive, diverse and successful businesses,” Lyons advised, urging employers to ensure they “understand their own performance on gender equality” as an essential first step.