Understanding the Gender Pay Gap

Sep 19, 2022

It will come as no surprise to most women that there is a gender pay gap between themselves and their male counterparts. Alteris Women investigates the statistics behind the Gender Pay Gap and the reasons why women typically get paid less than men in the Australian workforce.

The Gender Pay Gap (GPG) is the difference between the average earnings of women compared to men in the workplace. It is an internationally-recognised measure that is used globally to establish the position of women in the economy compared to their male colleagues.

It is important to understand that the Gender Pay Gap does not discuss the difference between the individual amount men and women are paid for in the same job or an equal job role within a business. Equal Pay and the Gender Pay Gap are two different issues.

Equal Pay refers to an individual not being paid the same for a job of equal value, which is unlawful. The Gender Pay Gap looks at statistical economic data to determine the difference in the average earnings between men and women and the factors that affect this.

The Gender Pay Gap exists because of a variety of reasons, including economic, cultural, and social behaviours. It is well known that many female-dominated industries attract the lowest wages and salaries. This is compounded due to issues such as workplace inflexibility, particularly around pregnancy and caring for children, plus the common experience of longer parental leave for women compared to men. This means, on average, women are out of the workforce and putting a pause on their careers for much longer, compared to men.

There are also ongoing conscious and unconscious biases facing women in the workplace. Discrimination and prejudice when hiring or being considered for workplace promotion opportunities are sadly still experienced by too many women. These major factors affect the Gender Pay Gap and, over a lifetime, the difference between a man’s and a woman’s lifetime generated income in Australia can be staggering.

Women between the ages of 45-54 are also the hardest hit by the Gender Pay Gap with a 17.8% difference in wages. This is thought to be a flow-on effect from the time that most women take a break from the workplace to raise a family, generally between the ages of 35-44. The impact due to family obligations over the space of this decade also significantly impacts promotion opportunities and career advancement for women.

The economic outcome for women over a working lifetime is that they will earn less than men, and be less likely to advance their active careers as high as their male associates. This can lead to less superannuation and life savings and a higher risk of suffering poverty in old age. Economically, for men and women, and Australia as a whole, the Gender Pay Gap is a major concern.

Comparison by State

  • The data collected revealed that 90% of managers were working full-time
  • Higher-paid roles were exclusively reserved for full-time employment.
  • Fewer than 50% of women are in full-time employment across any age group, particularly from the age 35 and upwards
  • Full-time roles are predominantly occupied by men. Economically, for men and women, and Australia as a whole, the Gender Pay Gap is a major concern.

 

The economic outcome for women over a working lifetime is that they will earn less than men, and be less likely to advance their active careers as high as their male associates. This can lead to less superannuation and life savings and a higher risk of suffering poverty in old age. Economically, for men and women, and Australia as a whole, the Gender Pay Gap is a major concern.

How do we know these figures? WGEA collects pay data annually from non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees. This covers more than four million Australian employees and includes data that covers superannuation, bonuses, and other additional payments. This data is collated from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. WGEA and the Australian Bureau of Statics both show a Gender Pay Gap favouring full-time working men over full-time working women in every industry and occupational group category in Australia.

Comparison by State

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