Australia’s gender pay gap tightens mildly

Peter Terlato 18 November 2017

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However, in the last year, there's been significant gains in employer action on gender equality.

Despite every industry and occupation in Australia possessing a full-time gender pay gap favouring men, an increasing number of workplaces are conducting analyses, making managers more accountable for equality.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) released its fourth annual 2016/17 Gender Equality Scorecard, highlighting gender imbalances and the fact that women earn, on average, 78% of men’s full-time earnings. This means the average annual salary for full-time female employees is $26,527 less than men's.

The data measures the salary remunerations of over four million Australian employees and 11,000 employers.

Pay gaps exist in every single occupational category, from a small difference (8.4% or $6,472) among male and female clerical and administrative staff to a quarter (26.7% or $28,042) for technicians and trades workers.

Financial and insurance services retain the greatest gender pay gap at 31.9%, but this proportion is declining each year. In contrast, the gap in rental, hiring and real estate services (31.4%) rose year-on-year in 2016/17.

Management roles are often dominated by men. Women hold less than one fifth (16.5%) of all chief executive roles and less than one third (29.7%) of key management personnel positions. At the senior management level, the actual earnings pay gap between genders stretches to as much as $89,216.

However, awareness of this inequality is spreading and this year's scorecard reveals one third of employers (37.7%) admitted to conducting a gender pay gap analysis between 2015/16 and 2016/17, up 10% year-on-year.

Further to this, employers with manager KPIs related to gender equality rose 5% year-on-year to 28.4%.

There was only a slight improvement (0.8%) of appointments of women to manager roles (43.4%), including promotions, over the last 12 months but more employers (5.3%) created flexible work policies (68.3%).

A 2016 study found the majority of Aussie men feel gender inequality doesn't exist in their line of work.

Research shows gender can impact our decision-making processes. Emotions play a significant role in determining how men and women think differently about investment strategies and managing risk.

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