Gender pay gap at 23 per cent, according to new government data

by L&D17 Nov 2016
New data collected by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has found that the gender pay gap has narrowed by 1.6 per cent, yet women still earn a sobering 23 per cent less than men.
 
It was found that female employees working full-time earned, on average, nearly $27,000 less than men over 2015/16. The contrast is starker at high levels of management, where the disparity between earnings is $93,884.
 
The WGEA is a statutory government agency designed to monitor and promote workplace equality. For its latest data it covered 12,000 employers and four million employees.
 
According to WGEA director Libby Lyons, the principal reason for the disparity in earnings between the genders is bias and discrimination.
 
"I think in 2016 we shouldn't still be talking about a pay gap," she said.
 
"But, I think that there are some positive signs on the horizon."
 
Lyons points to the slight narrowing of the gap as proof that employers are becoming more conscious of pay inequality.
 
"I think the obvious reason for the decline in the gender pay gap is the fact that organisations are recognising that this is a problem, that it is not fair that women are paid less than men and are actually taking their own action to do a gender pay gap analysis, and to sort the problem out in their own workplace.
 
"This year, for the first time, our data shows that over 70 per cent of employers have policies in place to improve gender equality."
 
The most concerning finding from the new data, for Lyons, was the paltry number of women who occupied positions at the top of the business hierarchy.
 
"We still see that five out of six CEOS are men and three out of four board directors are men," she said.
 
"I think what we have to do is get women into the pipeline that feeds management."
 
That process, however, appears to be underway, with the data indicating that women, for the first time, were 42 per cent of promotions into managerial roles.
 
"So, that means we are actually creating the pipeline into management and I think that in the foreseeable future we will see that number of female CEOs and senior managers increase."
 

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