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3 Sep, 2018

Equal Pay Day: Australian agency offers tips to narrow the male-female earnings gap

Canberra, Workplace Gender Equality Agency — Equal Pay Day falls on Friday 31 August this year. It marks the additional 62 days that women had to work to earn the same amount as men did on 30 June this year.

“Although the gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years at 14.6%, Equal Pay Day is an important reminder that women still face major obstacles in accessing equivalent financial rewards for their work as men,” said Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

“Women’s work is undervalued and this prevents them from reaching their full potential in the workplace. This is detrimental for both individual women and the economy. It is shameful that Australian women working full-time need to work for, on average, an additional two months to earn what men earned in a year.”

On Equal Pay Day, the Agency is urging all employers to take action to close gender pay gaps in their organisation and support women’s increased participation in the workplace, particularly their progression into senior and non-traditional roles.

“Employer action on addressing pay equity has played a key role in reducing the gender pay gap. I urge all Australian employers to take action now.

“Do a pay gap analysis. Report the results to the executive and board. Pay gaps close when leaders see the numbers. If every employer did this, the pay gap would be history,” said Ms Lyons.

About the national gender pay gap

The national gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.

Using the latest Average Weekly Earnings data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has calculated the national gender pay gap as 14.6% for full-time employees, a difference of $244.80 per week.

Research shows the main factors contributing to the gender pay gap are:

  • – discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions
  • – women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages
  • – women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work
  • – lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles
  • – women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.

Key facts

  • – The national gender pay gap is 14.6%. It has declined from 15.3% in the past 12 months.
  • – On average, women working full-time earned $1433.60 while men working full-time earned $1678.40.
  • – Full-time average weekly earnings difference between women and men is $244.80.

More information: Gender pay gap statistics fact sheet; WGEA data explorer

About the Agency: The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces. www.wgea.gov.au.