Three ways employers can beat the pay gap

2nd Mar 17

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is encouraging employers this International Women’s Day (8 March 2017) to take action to close the gender pay gap.

The Agency’s data shows that women make up half of the nation’s workforce but earn only 77 per cent of men’s average full-time income.

The world-leading dataset, covering 12,000 employers and four million employees, provides a detailed picture of the state-of-play of workplace gender equality in Australia. It shows that the average full-time female employee took home $26,853 less than the average male employee in 2015-16. This salary difference rises to $93,884 at the top level of management. 

Women are also under-represented in leadership roles: holding just 16.3 per cent of CEO and 37.4 per cent of all manager roles.

So what can be done to close the gap?

The good news is that with solid commitment and a targeted action plan, there is a lot employers can do to close the gender pay gap.

  1. Identify issues that might contribute to pay inequity.

Many employers say the hardest part is knowing where to start.

The first step is understanding the key issues around pay equity. Issues include women being concentrated in lower-paying roles, as well as inflexible work arrangements that may impact women’s access to senior leadership roles. Organisations should be on the lookout for instances of bias (conscious or unconscious) and discrimination, particularly in relation to those with caring responsibilities.

  1. Analyse payroll data.

The next step is to review and analyse payroll data for women and men in your organisation.

The Agency recommends analysing pay gaps in three ways to get a complete picture. You should identify pay gaps between women and men doing the same or comparable jobs; compare pay within management and occupational levels; and assess the pay gap across the whole organisation.

3. Take action to address the hotspots.

Once you have identified where your pay equity hotspots are, you need to take action in addressing them. This may require a multi-pronged approach, including measures such as supporting more women into management or technical roles, and examining pay review processes. These necessary measures will vary for each organisation.

There are many more examples of employers stepping up to the challenge and taking action to address pay gaps. For the first time, more than 70 per cent of employers reporting to the WGEA have in place proactive policies to support gender equality.

Want to find out more about the gender pay gap in your organisation’s competitors? ‘Explore’ data that is specific to your industry using the WGEA Data Explorer.

WGEA is an Australian Government Agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces. We work with employers across all industries to help them comply with the reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

All non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employers are required to annually report to the Agency against a number of key gender equality indicators, and progress is tracked overtime.

If your organisation is required to report, the Agency is holding a number of educational webinars in the coming weeks to help you prepare for reporting. Reports are due between 1 April 2017 and 31 May 2017. For more information visit our website:

Tags: Industrial Relations

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