According to recently released ABS statistics, the gender pay gap in Australia has widened over the past year. Women’s average weekly earnings are now 82% of men’s — 0.8 of a percentage point lower than last year. As a result, Australian women will have to work an extra 66 days to earn what men do in a year.
Generally, the gender pay gap is caused by a variety of factors including the undervaluation of women’s work, women’s access to training, and inflexible work practices which limit employment prospects.
However, a recent report by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling found that the main contributing factor to the wage gap was simply “being a woman”, which accounted for 60% of the difference between women and men’s earnings.
A survey of organisations reporting to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) revealed that less than 40% of them conduct an annual gender pay equity analysis. Of the organisations that do conduct some kind of analysis, around half said that their analysis resulted in an action plan to address the gap. This means fewer than 20% of organisations reporting to EOWA have a pay equity action plan.
Acting EOWA Director Mairi Steele said: “Most organisations don’t realise that they have a gender gap and it is not until they undertake a critical analysis of pay structures, including all the extras such as performance pay, over-award payments and the like, that the problems are revealed. This is why, starting this year, organisations applying for the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women citation will have to show that they have undertaken a proper gender pay analysis and have a plan to address any issues.”
Have your say: What is your organisation doing to address the gender pay gap? What should it be doing?