Gender Equity Insights 2018: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap

ContactsAlan Duncan, Director
Rebecca Cassells, Principal Research Fellow
Published10 March 2018

The Centre’s latest publication – Gender Equity Insights 2018: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap –was launched in collaboration with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on Friday 2 March 2018, ahead of International Women’s Day.

This third report in the BCEC|WGEA Gender Equity Insights series, launched at the Hyatt Regency Perth, extends and strengthens the evidence base around gender pay gaps and how these have changed over time across Australian workplaces.

The Opening Address was delivered by the Honourable Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services and proceedings closed by Bankwest’s Managing Director, Rowan Munchenberg.

The report findings were presented by BCEC Director, Professor Alan Duncan and BCEC Principal Research Fellow, Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells.

BCEC|WGEA 2018 launch panel photo

Michael Schoch, General Manager – Crux and Browse Project, Shell Australia, Jackie Woods, Engagement Executive Manager, Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), Professor Alan Duncan, Director, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Hon. Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services, Rowan Munchenberg, Managing Director, Bankwest, Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells, Principal Research Fellow, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Susan Cull, Manager – People and Communities, Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA and Di Darmody, Producer and Presenter, 720 ABC Perth.

 

Speaking to the findings at the launch of the report, Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells noted that: “More employers than ever before are taking pay equity seriously, and we are now starting to see this translating into results.”

“The proportion of employers who undertook a pay gap analysis has risen considerably over the past four years. Leading the charge are the mining and finance and insurance sectors, with almost two-thirds of organisations in these sectors undertaking a pay equity audit,” Associate Professor Cassells said.

“We are seeing a re-balancing between male and female wages, especially among top-tier managers as a result of these actions. In monetary terms, this equates to a decrease in total remuneration of almost $4,000 on average for male top-tier managers, and an increase in total salary for top-tier female managers by around $24,000 between 2015-16 and 2016-17.”

Centre Director Professor Alan Duncan took the audience through the report’s series of special investigations that “offer hard evidence on the sorts of actions that companies can take to drive change and promote greater pay equity.”

“Firstly, almost all combinations of pay equity actions contribute to a reduction in gender pay gaps,” Professor Duncan said.

“One of the most striking findings is that actions to correct like-for-like gender pay gaps, combined with reporting, reduce managerial gender pay gaps by 9.7 percentage points in base salaries, and 12.7 percentage points in total salaries.”

Susan Cull, Manager – People and Communities at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA, highlighted that the resources sector is leading the way towards eliminating the gender pay gap.

“Our industry’s commitment to reducing the gender pay gap is now bearing fruit, and we’re seeing a year-on-year lowering of the gender pay gap. Although there’s a raft of actions companies can take to address the gender pay gap, its executive leadership and accountability that is the key ingredient to making progress,” Ms Cull said.

Michael Schoch, General Manager – Crux & Browse Project, Shell Australia, said that diminishing the disparity in gender equality is not an issue of gender but one of leadership.

“Nothing is going to change until people like you lead the change. In the absence of knowing the metric I can guarantee there will be a gender pay gap, and with nearly as much certainty I know that the evidence is in the material within this report,” Mr Schoch said.

Jackie Woods, Engagement Executive Manager of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, noted that there is a growing focus on the links between employer action on pay equity and lower pay gaps.

“It’s through looking at the data that employers can pinpoint where they need to take action. We know employers don’t set out to pay men and women differently, but we hear time and time again that when CEOs conduct a pay audit they are shocked at the results and this inspires significant change,” Ms Woods said.

Rowan Munchenberg, Managing Director of Bankwest, closed the event proceedings, urging business leaders to take personal responsibility in driving change and in raising the profile of the gender equity issue.

“It’s important for leaders to use our influence to drive change, both within and beyond our organisations. I look forward to continuing to make my contribution to bring an end to gender inequality in WA and across Australia,” Mr Munchenberg said.