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The gender pay gap in Australia has hit a new record low

Jessica Yun
The national gender pay gap is steadily narrowing. <em>(Photo: Getty)</em>
The national gender pay gap is steadily narrowing. (Photo: Getty)

The national gender pay gap has dropped to its lowest level in two decades, falling further from its previous record-low figure of 14.6 per cent in August last year to 14.1 per cent.

In terms of wages, this means the difference between what men earn and what women earn comes to $239.80 a week, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

<em>(Data source: ABS (2019), Average Weekly Earnings, based on full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings. The data was collected in November 2018 and released February 2019.)</em>
(Data source: ABS (2019), Average Weekly Earnings, based on full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings. The data was collected in November 2018 and released February 2019.)

Workplace Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons said that increased employer action had resulted in “some real improvements”.

“More employers are analysing their pay data for pay gaps. More employers are then taking action to ensure women and men are equally rewarded and remunerated.”

But she said more needed to be done to close the gap further.

“We have to keep our foot on the pedal and maintain momentum. I now want to see all Australian employers take action on addressing pay equity… It is not hard.

“Do a pay gap analysis. Develop an action plan with targets. Report the results to the executive and board and monitor your progress. It is that easy.

“If every employer did this, we would close the gender pay gap pretty quickly.”

Which industries are the worst?

The problem affects women across Australia: a gender gap exists in every single Australian industry, but some cop a bigger cut than others.

Women working in financial and insurance services are being paid 26.6 per cent less than her male counterparts.

This is closely followed by women working in the healthcare and social assistance sector (25 per cent), and then by the rental, hiring and real estate services (24.1 per cent).

The gender gap is smallest in the public administration and safety industry, but even then, there is a 5.8 per cent difference between male and female pay.

Female employees in the retail trade sector are also among those stung the least, with a 6.3 per cent gender pay gap.

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