The gender pay gap remains a deeply controversial topic and reality. The latest findings released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has laid bare the extent of disparities being currently experienced by women in the workforce, revealing that, on average, women’s full-time weekly earnings are $263 less than men’s.
Results show the gender pay gap relating to full-time earnings between men and women is 14.1 per cent, an increase of 0.3 per cent over the last six months and up 1.9 per cent from the previous year. Put differently, the average woman would need to work an additional 42 days of the working year to make the same salary as the average man.
Workplace Gender Equality Act (WGEA) Director Mary Wooldridge told the ABC last week that the gender pay gap is highest in the professional service industries: law, consultancies, architecture and the finance sector. In these sectors men’s pay is more than 25% higher than women’s.
Wooldridge went on to note that pressure should be passed on to the employers. “They need to do a pay gap audit to understand where the gaps are within their organisation, addressing the composition of their workforce,” said Woolridge.
A necessary step is encouraging the placement of more women in senior roles, supported by flexible and parental leave. Woolridge also argues that “the impact of inflation in relation to the pay gap for women is disproportionate.”
One could also speculate about the impact of the male-dominated resources sector on the numbers. On average, men in Western Australia are the highest paid in the country.
The Australian Taxation Office’s annual release of tax statistics further exposes the financial imbalance of the sexes. The ATO data shows that the higher paying the occupation, the less women there will be in that field; conversely, occupations with mostly women in them are on average lower paid.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, at the current, practically non-existent rate of progress globally, it will take another 132 years for women’s average pay to be the same as men’s.
Prime Minister Albanese promised during the campaign to make gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act. The new data suggests there is a long way to go.
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Feature image courtesy of @charlesdeluvio and article image from @priscilladupree both via Unsplash.
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