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At 3:57pm these Aussies will be working without pay

The pay discrepancy could see these Aussies lose out on $93,000 by retirement.

A composite image of office workers and a person working from home looking stressed.
Aussie women have to work 56 days more than men to earn the same pay. (Source: AAP / Getty)

It’s a shocking statistic that at 3:57pm on any given day, some Aussie workers are essentially working without pay.

Australia’s national gender pay gap is now at 13 per cent - meaning, on average, Aussie women must work an additional 56 days to earn the same pay as men.

New modelling by Aware Super found the national gender pay gap would equate to a $93,000 deficit in the superannuation balances of women when compared to Australian men at retirement.

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And the problem is worse depending on which sector women work in. While the average national gender pay gap means that as of 3:57pm women are effectively working free until 5:00pm, for those who work in the health sector, ‘pay gap o’clock’ is 3:19pm.

For women in the finance sector it is 3:27pm. In the education sector it’s 4:16pm.

The pay gap is not a ‘silent conspiracy’

“In 2023 we need to recognise that these persistent gaps based on gender aren’t about a silent conspiracy to underpay women, so much as an insidious, unconscious bias in the way we build and maintain our education and employment systems,” Aware CEO and WGEA Pay Equity ambassador Deanne Stewart said.

“Unless we actively take steps to account for these unconscious biases, they are destined to continue, and further entrench, the disadvantages experienced by Australian women at work, at home and in retirement.

“When we call out for action, we’re asking our leaders in business and government to take practical options – holding open a door that was previously closed to girls and women, and making sure we’re tackling unconscious bias through real actions that make a real difference.”

Pay gaps do exist in Aussie business

As an example of the pay gap occurring in Australia, Yahoo Finance looked through the full-year reports from some of the big banks - Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Westpac and NAB.

In CBA’s 2023 annual report, the bank revealed that while it had women in 44 per cent of executive roles, they were, on average, paid 93 cents for every dollar men at the same level were paid.

While NAB does not break down the gender pay gap by different levels within the business, it revealed in its 2022 annual report that the gender pay gap was growing. It said the gender pay gap was sitting at 16.9 per cent - up 0.3 per cent compared to the previous financial year.

Westpac said over 2020 and 2021, it adjusted salaries for 759 female employees to address pay-equity issues within the business.

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