The gender pay gap

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has released its 8th edition of the gender equality scorecard. The timing is coincident with International Women’s Day, as we celebrate the success of women in the workplace and raise awareness for the inequity that remains doggedly persistent Australia.

The proportion of female CEOs in the ASX has increased again, from 18.3% to 19.4% (see HERE and HERE).

Female representation on boards have increased to 33%, up 3% from 2019-2020. This would suggest that initiatives by the ASX Corporate Governance Council, the AICD, proxy adviser director election voting policies, ACSI’s 40 (women):40 (men): 20 (unallocated) target advocacy (see HERE) and are having an impact.

The WGEA report considers the gender pay gap and the causes behind it. The gap is defined in the WGEA report as “the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.” This approach does not directly compare pay for men and women occupying the same positions or address equal pay, which by law, requires men and women be paid the same amount for the same work. Instead, the pay gap would provide an indication of the positions of women in the workforce and their opportunity compared to men.

This year’s report found that 47% of all managerial promotions went to women, however women still represent less than 20% of CEOs.

There is also other evidence that Australia is not performing as it should. The Global Gender Gap Report released in March 2021 (see HERE) revealed that Australia has fallen 6 places to rank 50th from 2020 to 2021. This is an interesting read, if only to verify that it is possible, like Iceland, to achieve parity.  Some may say, in scanning the countries that have achieved parity in this report, that bridging the gap is only possible when there is female political leadership.

A summary of the findings and trends from the WGEA dataset can be found below. Where included, casual and part-time hours have been converted to full-time equivalent earnings where in prior years they only considered full-time hours.

Pay equity

  • Increased employer action on pay equity
  • Significant increase in the number of employers doing a pay gap analysis (up 5.1% to 51.5%)
  • 6% increase in the number of employers taking action to close the gap (56.0%)

Gender pay gap

  • The total remuneration gender pay gap per annum on average decreased 0.5% to 22.8% ($25,792). This includes full-time equivalent earnings for casual and part-time employees. For full-time employees only, it decreased from 20.1% to 19.6%. At this rate Australia should achieve parity in 160 years.
  • The base salary gender pay gap per annum on average decreased 0.4% to 14.6%
  • The two industries with the largest gender pay gap are construction and financial and insurance services with gaps of 30.6% and 29.5% respectively. Since 2013-14 this is an increase of 2.5% for construction and a decrease of 9.2% for financial and insurance services.

Flexible work

  • Support for flexible work arrangements continues to increase reaching 78.6% (up 2.7%)

Minimal action to increase CEO and board representation

  • 4% of CEOs or business leaders are women
  • 5% of board are at least 60% male with 22.3% of boards having no women at all
  • Only 12% of organisations with male-dominated boards have set targets to increase female representation. The average target is to increase female representation to 35%.

Family and domestic violence

  • Another increase in employer action on family and domestic violence with over half of employers now providing access to paid domestic violence leave
  • 9% increase in employers with a policy or strategy up to 70.3%
  • Significant jump of 15.2% in employers providing access to paid domestic violence leave (up to 50.7%)

Parental Leave

  • 60% of employers offered paid primary carer’s leave (up 7.6%)
  • 50% of employers offered paid parental leave for secondary carers (up 3.6%)
  • 81% of employers paying primary carer’s leave offer superannuation on parental leave

Women in management

  • Women now comprise 41% of all managers in the WGEA dataset
  • 47% of manager promotions and appointments went to women

Part time and casual roles

  • 39% of full-time workers are female (up 0.9%)
  • 57% of casual workers are women (up 0.7%)
  • 75% of part-time workers are women, consistent with last year

Gender equality policies and strategies

  • Growth in employers implementing gender equality policies and strategies (up 0.4% to 76.9%)
  • 36% of these organisations have implemented KPIs for managers relating to gender equality outcomes (up 1.5% from last year and doubled from 18% 8 years ago)

See HERE for the full report.

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

© Guerdon Associates 2024
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