Australia’s gender pay gap has increased by 0.8 per cent to 14.2 per cent, meaning Australian women earn an average $261.50 a week less than their male counterparts.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) analysis of the latest earnings data shows that while men’s full-time wages increased 1.8 per cent in the last six months, women’s increased only 0.9 per cent. The increase in men’s wages was fuelled largely by wage hikes in the male-dominated construction industry.
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WGEA director Mary Wooldridge described the widening gap as concerning and said policymakers, employers and governments need to work harder to close it.
The national gender pay gap is measured by comparing the average weekly full-time base salary earnings of men and women.
While equal pay for equal work has been a legal requirement in Australia since 1969, the gender pay gap measures the overall difference in earnings across the Australian labour force. That means it’s not a like-for-like comparison of roles.
On average, men working full-time earn $1,837 a week and women earn $1,575.50 a week, a disparity that indicates it will take Australia at least another 26 years to fully close the pay gap.
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“Closing the pay gap is about fairness. Our data shows women’s average full-time wages are lower than men’s across every industry and occupation in Australia,” Wooldridge said.
“The gender pay gap signifies that the work of women is still not treated as being of equal value to that of men.”
With the current gap, women would need to work an extra 61 days a year to earn the same as men.
The 2021 Equal Pay Day will fall on 31 August to recognise the 61 days from the end of the financial year women would have had to work.
“This Equal Pay Day, we’re calling on all Australians to ask #WhatsYourPayGap? in their workplaces and industries as a crucial step towards bridging this divide,” Wooldridge said.
“Equal Pay Day is an ideal opportunity to remind employers around the country that one of the key levers of change is through gender pay audits. These audits help employers identify and address discriminatory pay, to ensure that women are equally compensated and valued,” she said.”
Companies that conduct pay audits close managerial pay gaps faster, the latest Gender Equity Insights report from the WGEA and Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre found.
Companies that stopped conducting audits saw pay gaps among managers increase.
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