50 years on from the equal pay decision, are men and women paid equitably?

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has released its 6th edition of the gender equality scorecard. This looks at the pay inequity in Australia for the past year. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the equal pay decision.

WGEA also provides a tool for your company to benchmark its practices.

For the 2nd straight year, there has not been any increase in the number of female CEOs, at 17.1% of the ASX (see HERE) . There has been a small increase in women in management with little change to representation on boards.  This suggests there continues to be a glass ceiling in the Australian boardroom (see HERE) .

The highlight of this year’s results is the increase in employer action on family and domestic violence. The number of employers offering a policy or strategy on family and domestic violence has increased by 13.3%. There was an 8.9% increase in employers offering paid domestic violence leave.

The number of women’s promotions and appointments to managerial roles are increasing. More employers are starting to adopt policies or strategies that support gender equality or promote flexible working.

Even though access to paid parental leave has improved, it is only offered by less than 50% of employers. For the past 3 years, the gender pay gap favouring men in the female-dominated Health Care and Social Assistance industry has not shifted.

A summary of the findings and trends is below. The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the average full-time earnings of a male and female as a percentage of male earnings.  This does not reflect comparisons of women and men in the same roles as it would be unequal pay and therefore unlawful.

Gender pay gap

  • The total remuneration gender pay gap is 20.8% (down 0.5%)
  • Men out-earn women by $25,679 a year on average
  • The pay gap in favour of men has barely shifted in the female-dominated industry of Health Care and Social Assistance (up 1.2% from 14.7% in 2015-16 to 15.9% in 2018-19)

Family and domestic violence

  • Big increase in employer action on family and domestic violence
  • 3% jump in employers with a policy or strategy (up to 60.2%)
  • 9% increase in employer provision of paid domestic violence leave (up to 30.3%)

Parental Leave

  • Six-year high in the provision of employer-funded paid parental leave but over half the employers in the Agency’s dataset still do not offer it
  • Access is variable and highly dependent on the size and industry of the employer
  • 4% of employers offered paid primary carer’s leave (up 1.6%)
  • 8% of employers offered paid secondary carer’s leave (up 2.0%)

Lack of women at CEO and Board level

  • The glass ceiling remains a barrier for women at top leadership levels
  • No change from last year’s figures in the number of female CEOs (17.1%)
  • Only a 1.0% increase in the number of female board directors (up to 26.8%)

Flexible work

  • More employers are promoting flexible work (up 2.0% to 72.7%)
  • But an action gap remains: only 5.6% have set targets for employee engagement and only 2.3% have set targets for men’s engagement

Women in management

  • Women now comprise 39.4% of all managers in the WGEA dataset
  • 8% of manager promotions and appointments went to women

Pay equity

  • Increased employer action on pay equity
  • 1% increase in the number of employers doing a pay gap analysis (up to 44.7%)
  • But an action gap remains as almost 40% of these employers took no action to close their pay gaps

Gender equality policies and strategies

  • Continued growth in employers implementing gender equality policies and strategies
  • Over three-quarters of employers now have a gender equality strategy or policy
  • Only 32.2% have implemented KPIs for managers relating to gender equality outcomes

See HERE for more information from the WGEA.

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

© Guerdon Associates 2024
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