Australia’s gender pay gap narrows slightly to 13.8%

The national gender pay gap in Australia now stands at 13.8%, down from 14.2% six months ago.

The new data, released Thursday afternoon by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, shows there is an average difference of $255 a week in the full-time earnings of men and women in Australia.

The figures are based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data from mid-November, before the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“Any time we see the pay gap narrowing, it’s a welcome sign that the labor market is moving in the right direction, said Mary Wooldridge, director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

This gender pay gap is the second lowest national pay gap in the last 20 years, the lowest being 13.4% in November 2020.

Wooldridge said the 13.8% pay gap figure was taken during a period of relative stability in mid-November 2021 before the Omicron wave, when labor force participation of women and men increased .

She said the numbers should be seen as an important benchmark ahead of International Women‘s Day in March.

“Australian employers need to do more than just talk about gender equality on any day of the year. This is something that requires careful attention, sustained commitment and, above all, action to continue to improve the policies that we know make the difference,” said Wooldridge.

“Based on our latest insights from the WGEA dashboard, 42% of organizations have been able to reduce their pay gaps over the past 12 months, but 37% of organizations have actually seen their pay gaps widen over the past 12 months. the same period.”

The WGEA has also provided data on the gender pay gap based on states and territories, which shows that South Australia has the lowest gender pay gap at 7.4% and the Western Australia with the largest gender pay gap at 21.2%.

Gender pay gaps in states and territories. Source: WGEA.

Wooldridge noted that the gender pay gap in Australia is due to a variety of factors, such as having heavily gendered industries and occupations, and that female-dominated industries such as health and education tend to be paid less.

Women also continue to disproportionately shoulder most of the unpaid care work in Australia, and there is still endemic unconscious bias and discrimination in recruitment, promotion and negotiation processes.

“Companies need to look inward and think about how they recruit, select and promote all workers in the employee lifecycle – and watch out for unconscious bias at every stage,” she said. .

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that women are less likely to negotiate or ask for raises. Research has proven that this is not true: women ask, but they are less likely to receive pay raises than men.

“Practical actions such as using free online tools to vet job postings in gender-neutral language, setting up gender-neutral interview panels, or even clearly advertising roles as available for flexibly, can all be the first steps employers can take to move beyond words and into action to combat stereotypes and prejudices in their workplace.

The National Gender Pay Gap, as published by the WGEA, is an internationally established measure of the position of full-time employed women in organizations and industries, relative to full-time employed men.

This article was first published by Women’s program.

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