Australia’s latest gender equality scorecard

More employers are taking action to address pay gaps and gender imbalances that persist across the economy, according to 2016-17 workplace data released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

The fourth year of WGEA data records strong improvements in organisations conducting gender pay gap analyses, making managers accountable for gender equality outcomes and encouraging flexible work arrangements.

The data also confirms that every industry and occupation across the Australian workforce has a full-time gender pay gap favouring men, with women earning on average just 78% of men’s full-time earnings. The average annual pay packet of full-time female employees is $26,527 less than men’s, rising to $89,216 at the top level of management.

Pay gaps favouring men were also identified in every occupational category, from 8.4% for Clerical and Administrative workers (worth $6,472) to 26.7% for Technicians and Trades workers (worth $28,042).

Management roles continue to be heavily dominated by men with women remaining under-represented in the upper leadership echelons, holding just 16.5% of CEO roles and 29.7% of key management personnel roles. However, women’s representation at every level of management has improved since 2016.

Some of the key findings included in this scorecard are (with percentage point movement since 2015-16):

  • Gender pay gap (full-time total remuneration): 22.4% (down 0.7 pp)
  • Employers who have conducted a gender pay gap analysis: 37.7% (up 10.8pp)
  • Employers with manager KPIs related to gender equality: 28.4% (up 5pp)
  • Appointments of women to manager roles (including promotions): 43.4% (up 0.8pp)
  • Employers with flexible work policies: 68.3% (up 5.3pp)
  • Proportion of women directors on boards and governing bodies: 24.9% (up 0.2pp)

WGEA Director Libby Lyons said the Agency’s world-leading dataset covering over four million employees and 11,000 employers shows strong improvement in employer awareness but the pace of change needs to increase.

“In Australia, men still out earn women in every industry and across all occupations,” said Ms Lyons.

“This is not about women’s choices: whether you are a manager, a scientist, a butcher, a baker or even a TV presenter, there is a gender pay gap favouring men.

“The sharp increases in employer action show that the momentum for improved gender equality is building. I am very encouraged that many more employers are now analysing their pay data for gender pay gaps and hopeful this will flow through to improved pay outcomes for women in the years ahead.

“Other positive developments include an increase in managers having KPIs related to gender equality and more women being appointed to manager roles.

“Unfortunately, the number of women on company boards remains static and too few organisations are reporting their gender metrics up to the board. We need to see some real change. Boards must take more accountability for gender equality.”

Source: Workplace Gender Equality Agency