Australian women earn less than men in any job
The federal government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the deputy director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre at Curtin University, Prof Rebecca Cassells, found that discriminatory attitudes in workplaces, homes and institutions contribute to the gender pay gap in Australia.
The findings were based on an extensive analysis of seven years of gender reporting data covering more than 4.3 million Australian workers.
They found that while the total gender pay gap based on full-time total remuneration fell from 24.7% to 20.1% in the past seven years, which means men working full-time earn nearly $25,534 a year more than women working full-time. It also indicates a worse trend that it will take more than 26 years for the gap to close completely.
The report said while some organisations have embraced change, in others there was “gender apathy”. “This ‘gender apathy’ has acted to slow the overall pace of change,” the report said.
“There is an attitude that runs through our workplaces, our homes and our institutions that devalues and discriminates against women. These attitudes and poor culture lead directly to discriminatory practices against women.” Cassells said. “But they can be changed when they are challenged, when there is zero acceptance within a workplace or an institution, and when leaders decide that they will be changed.”
Workplace Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons told the Guardian, expecting Australian women to wait a quarter of a century for the total remuneration gender pay gap to close is “unacceptable”.
“It may well take longer if employer inertia and complacency lead to a reversal of current trends,” she said.
“We also have to consider the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic may have on the outlook for women’s employment and workforce participation. This will remain unclear until we collect the data from employers in the coming months and release our next dataset later this year.”
Lyons said workplaces that embedded gender equality in their organisations as a standard business practice reported better company performance, productivity and profitability.
In what ways does Australia differ from the rest of the world?
At about 18.9%, the US has the largest wage gap in the world. Australia is at 6.1% which is more than double that of New Zealand.
What steps employers can take to close the gap?
Keep a tap on the numbers.
You may be under the impression that you’re not paying women less, but you can only be certain if you compare salaries for the same or similar roles.
Think about management.
Who is making salary decisions? Are they all male? or is it a diverse workplace that comes from the top down.
It has been proved through multiple research that workplaces that have flexible working arrangements give women the opportunity to still progress in their careers even after they have children. These include benefits like working from home, job share and flexible start and finish times. Men, also benefit from these flexible work practices too!
Understand, closing the wage gap is in everyone’s best interest.
Avoid legal action.
If an employee commences legal action against you for discrimination, it will not only be costly but be detrimental to your organisation’s reputation.
Hire and retain the best talent.
Having a flexible and inclusive culture will mean you will attract the best talent, regardless of gender.