Last month on 28th August, Australia observed [Un] Equal Pay Day, marking the 59 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same pay as men.

Equal Pay Day saw a flurry of social media activity, engagement and support, but it is important to remember that this issue needs year-round attention. It’s equally important to remember that Equal Pay is not the only factor that contributes to the Gender Pay Gap.

Particular attention needs to be paid to the social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime, and what we can do about it to help close the gap.

Before we explore the reasons, let’s look at the what the gender pay gap is and isn’t. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, “the gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce. It is not the difference between two people being paid differently for work of the same or comparable value, which is unlawful. This is called equal pay. The gender pay gap is an internationally established measure of women’s position in the economy in comparison to men.”

In Australia, the gender pay gap, based on full-time average weekly earnings, has fluctuated between 14 per cent and 19 per cent over the past 20 years, based on gender pay gap data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In New Zealand, the gender pay gap is 9.3 percent according to StatsNZ. This has reduced since 1998 (16.3 percent), but has stalled in the last decade.

According to the 2019 report ‘She’s Price(d)less by KPMG, Diversity Council Australia & Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors:

  • Discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions;
  • Men and women 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 in senior roles; and
  • Women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.

Another reason according to the Ministry for Women (New Zealand) are societal attitudes and beliefs, and for the gaming and hospitality industries being perceived as heavily male-dominated, it’s a key driver our industry needs to pay attention to.

According to the above-mentioned report, there are three key areas of opportunities for change that need to be focussed on. These drivers include:

  • Gender Discrimination Driver e.g. Addressing discrimination in work practices such as hiring, promotion and access to training
  • Care, Family Responsibilities and Workforce Participation Driver e.g. Improving work-life balance, increasing availability of flexible work
  • Gender Segregation in Industries an Occupations Driver e.g. Breaking down social norms regarding what roles and industries are appropriate for men and women.

For the full report, She’s Price(d)Less, please click here to download.