50 years on from the equal pay decision, a big gap in pay remains between men and women

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has released its 7th edition of the gender equality scorecard. This looks at the pay inequity in Australia for the past year.

For the first time in 3 years, the number of female CEOs in the ASX have increased, from 17.1% to 18.3% (see HERE).

It seems that this change is occurring at the smaller companies on the ASX, with the ASX200 experiencing a decrease in female representation at the larger companies (see HERE).

Female representation on boards have also increased marginally, from 26.8% to 28.1%. This would suggest that the initiatives by the likes of the ASX Corporate Governance Council, the AICD, proxy adviser director election voting policies, ACSI’s 40 (women):40 (blokes):20 (unallocated) target advocacy (see HERE), and others are only moving the dial marginally (see HERE).

The WGEA report considers the gender pay gap and looking for the causes behind it. The gap has been defined in the WGEA report as “the difference between the average earnings of women and men, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings”. This is not the same as equal pay where men and women, by law, have to be paid the same amount for the same work. This means the same positions are not compared directly. Instead, the pay gap would provide an indication of the positions of women in the workforce and their opportunity compared to men.

A summary of the findings and trends are below. The study refers to full-time employees only unless specified and does not include CEOs.

Pay equity

  • Increased employer action on pay equity
  • 1.7% increase in the number of employers doing a pay gap analysis (up to 46.4%)
  • Significant reduction in number of employers taking action to close the gap (DOWN 6.1% to 54.4%)

Gender pay gap

  • The total remuneration gender pay gap per annum on average decreased 0.7% to 20.1% ($25,534)
  • The base salary gender pay gap per annum on average decreased 0.5% to 15.0% ($15,144)
  • The pay gap in favour of men has yet to show significant progress in the female-dominated industry of Health Care and Social Assistance (up 1.0% from 14.7% in 2015-16 to 15.7% in 2019-20)

Flexible work

  • More employers are promoting flexible work (up 3.2% to 75.9%)
  • An action gap remains as only 5.7% have set targets for employee engagement and only 2.2% have set targets for men’s engagement (same as last year)

Lack of women at CEO and Board level

  • The glass ceiling remains a barrier for women at top leadership levels
  • Slight increase from last year’s figures in the number of female CEOs (18.3%)
  • Only a 1.3% increase in the number of female board directors (up to 28.1%)

Family and domestic violence

  • Another increase in employer action on family and domestic violence
  • 4.2% jump in employers with a policy or strategy (up to 66.4%)
  • 5.2% increase in employer provision of paid domestic violence leave (up to 35.5%)

Parental Leave

  • For the first time in seven years, over half the employers in the Agency’s dataset offer paid primary carer’s leave
  • 52.4% of employers offered paid primary carer’s leave (up 3%)
  • 46.4% of employers offered paid secondary carer’s leave (up 2.6%)

Women in management

  • Women now comprise 39.9% of all managers in the WGEA dataset
  • 44.7% of manager promotions and appointments went to women

Part time and casual roles

  • Only 38.1% of full-time workers are female
  • Women comprise of 75.1% of part time roles
  • 56.3% of casual roles in the dataset are women

Gender equality policies and strategies

  • Continued growth in employers implementing gender equality policies and strategies (up 1.1% to 63.8%)
  • 43.1% of these organisations have implemented KPIs for managers relating to gender equality outcomes

See HERE for more information from the WGEA and HERE for the full report.

You can benchmark your company’s report against the national standards HERE.

© Guerdon Associates 2024
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