Gender Pay Gap Report: “The time for excuses is over” - Juice 107.3

Gender Pay Gap Report: “The time for excuses is over”

In a shocking report, a government agency has revealed the depth of disparity of pay between men and women in Australia.

By Juice 107.3 Network Friday 1 Mar 2024Finance and BusinessReading Time: 3 minutes

From women’s fashion retailers to a major jewellery chain, Australia’s gender pay gap has been laid bare.
Key points
  • Australia’s total average gender pay gap is 21.7 per cent.
  • Gender pay gaps “are not a comparison of like roles.”
  • Some of the companies with the biggest pay disparity in favour of men are women’s retailers.

A government study of nearly 5,000 private employers in Australia has revealed Australia’s total average gender pay gap is 21.7 per cent.

That means that on average, for every $1 a man makes, a woman earns 78c.

Over a year, that difference adds up to more than $26,000.

“The release of employer gender pay gaps marks a historic step towards transparency and accountability in addressing gender inequality,” Senator Katy Gallagher, who is the Minister for Finance, Women and the Public Service, said.

Gender pay gap vs equal pay

The report was undertaken by the government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

It published base salary and total remuneration median gender pay gaps for nearly 5,000 private sector employers in Australia that have 100 or more employees.

It’s important to note that the gender pay gap is not the same as “equal pay” for men and woman in similar jobs – which has been a legal requirement since 1969.

Gender pay gaps “are not a comparison of like roles.”

A WGEA spokesperson explained to Hope 103.2 in a statement that gender pay gaps “are not a comparison of like roles.”

Instead, the gender pay gap illustrates the difference “between the average or median pay of women and men across organisations, industries and the workforce as a whole.”

Shining a light

A snapshot of the results shows that:

  • 62 per cent of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5 per cent and in favour of men.
  • 8 per cent are less than -5 per cent – and in favour of women.
  • Across all employers, 50 per cent have a gender pay gap of over 9.1 per cent.

Senator Gallagher said that the report “shines a light” on gender pay gaps at an employer level.

“Transparency and accountability are critical for driving change,” the Labor senator said.

“We are arming individuals and organisations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces.”

Striving for parity

On the bright side, WGEA’s CEO Mary Wooldridge pointed out that around one-third of employers in Australia are close to “gender parity” when it comes to pay.

She added that all employers should be aiming for a gender pay gap of around 5 per cent.

“This range allows for normal business fluctuations and employee movements, while signifying that an employer has a focus on identifying and addressing inequalities,”  Ms Wooldridge, a former Victorian state MP, said.

“And is taking action to ensure there is gender equality throughout an organisation.”

“A catalyst for action and change”

In alarming figures, News Corp newspapers have drawn attention to the fact that some of the companies with the biggest pay disparity in favour of men are women’s retailers.

Women’s fashion retailers City Chic, Forever New and Valleygirl, as well as popular jewellery retailer Pandora, have some of the largest gender pay gaps in Australia, according to the report.

Some of the companies with the biggest pay disparity in favour of men are women’s retailers.

The pay gap at City Chic is more than 57 per cent in favour of men, while Pandora’s is 52 per cent.

Forever New is at 51 per cent, and Fast Future Brands, which owns Valleygirl, is just below 52 per cent.

“Particularly for those employers whose gender pay gaps are higher than their Industry peers, publication of the results today is a catalyst for action and change,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Equal value

Ms Wooldridge reiterated that the release of the pay gap data brings transparency to the issue – with hopes it will spark change.

“The time for talk and excuses is over,” she said.

“Change takes action and employers need to double down on ensuring all employees are fairly represented and equally valued and rewarded in their workplace.”

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Feature image: Photo by CanvaPro