2018 was a game changing year for women. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have meant that women are speaking up about unfair treatment and discrimination, both in and out of the workplace.
Despite this positive development, the gender pay gap still exists and women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. According to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there is currently a 14.6% wage gap between men and women. On average, women take home $25,000 less a year, than men.
The industries with the biggest discrepancies include financial services, construction, and real estate.
You’re probably wondering – how, in 2019, is this still a thing?
A few causes of the wage gap include:
A gendered workforce: Although we do see more women working in traditionally male dominated jobs, like construction, engineering, and finance, there are still inherent gender biases surrounding certain industries. Traditionally female jobs, like childcare and teaching, remunerate significantly less on average, than more male associated roles like bankers and labour based skilled trades.
Discrimination: Although the Fair Work Act has provided extensive protections against workplace discrimination, women still face bias during the hiring process. Engaged or newly married women are still being overlooked for senior roles or promotions under the assumption that their plans for children will mean they won’t have tenure in the role.
How does Australia compare to the rest of the world?
The US has the largest wage gap at about 18.9%. Although Australia’s isn’t this high, it is more than double that of New Zealand, at 6.1%.
What can employers do to close the gap?
Look at the numbers. Although you may not think you’re paying women less, you won’t know until you really compare salaries for the same or similar roles.
Think about management. Think about who is making these decisions about salary. Are they all male? A diverse workplace comes from the top down.
Encourage flexibility. Workplaces that have flexible working arrangements give women the opportunity to still progress in their careers even after they have children. These include benefits like working from home, job share and flexible start and finish times. Men, also benefit from these flexible work practices too!
No matter what industry, closing the wage gap is in everyone’s best interest.
Avoid legal action. If an employee commences legal action against you for discrimination, it will not only be costly but be detrimental to your organisation’s reputation.
Hire and retain the best talent. Having a flexible and inclusive culture will mean you will attract the best talent, regardless of gender.