Let's talk about the gender pay gap

gender pay gap australia

The gender pay gap is a problem that has persisted for decades in Australia. If you're not 100% certain on what the gender pay gap is, the Australian Gender Equality Agency describes it as, "the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings."

Currently, the gender pay gap is at approximately 16% and has hovered between 15% and 19% in the last two decades within Australia. That's a huge difference, considering that women are literally doing the exact same work as their male co-worker and being paid less, simply because they are female. How has it remained like this for so long? It's a combination of social and economical factors combined with attitudes in our society. Here are some stats for you, as taken from the gender pay gap statistics sheet.

gender pay gap australia

Figure 1: Image showing the difference between the full time average weekly earnings of a female in Australia compared to a male in Australia. Data obtained from the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Let's take a good look at this image. That's an average difference of $261.30 between females and males across the industries in Australia. The statistics from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) also describe the gender pay gap difference according to the industry, with Public Administration and Safety being the lowest at 7.1% and Financial and Insurance Services being the highest at 38.8%.

gender pay gap australia

Figure 2: Image showing the lowest and highest gender pay gap in South Australia and Western Australia in 2016. Data obtained from the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Interestingly, the statistics also shed light onto which states and territories face the highest and lowest gender pay gaps in Australia. In 2016, South Australia had the lowest gender pay gap, with 11.2% and Western Australia had the highest gender pay gap, with 23.9%. The gender pay gaps across the states and territories in Australia in 2016 from the highest to the lowest was:

1. WA 23.9%
2. NT 22.5%
3. QLD 16.4%
4. NSW 15.6%
5. VIC 13.4%
6. TAS 11.8%
7. ACT 11.5%
8. SA 11.2%
If all these numbers are starting to get confusing, all you need to know is that women are still paid less than males in Australia across all industries. The statistical report by the WGEA gives insights into how much work still needs to be done in order to close this gap going into the future. It's not about vilifying males because they get paid more, it's about understanding the changes that need to occur in the future so women get equal opportunities as men in the workplace.
The WGEA also highlight how there are numerous opportunities to help reduce this disparity, such as monitoring decisions relating to recruitment and remuneration, auditing the employee pool, ensuring there is greater female representation on Boards and striving to change attitudes about what females and males "should be doing" to break down stereotypes. We all have to keep monitoring progress and finding ways to spread this message so that change can occur. If you've had any experience with this, comment below - we'd love to hear your thoughts.

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