What can we do about the Gender Pay Gap?

Emma Egan

Not much has changed in the last 20 years. And it will stay the same for the next 20 if organisations and society do not take action soon.

The national gender pay gap has hovered between 15% and 20% and is currently sitting at 18% according to the workplace gender equality agency. This means that women would have to work an additional 65 days a year to earn the same as a man.

Many argue that women earn less because of time spent out of the workforce due to family/carer responsibilities. However the 2016 Gender Equity insights report states that women working full time are progressing at the same rate as men, though managerial positions can expect to earn $600k less in a ten-year period. Why is this so?

Another interesting finding is that female managers are more likely to be remunerated closer to their male peers in a male-dominated environment. On the flipside, male managers can expect to earn significantly more than their female counterparts in a female dominated organisation. What the?!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. For positions covered by collective agreements and awards, the gender pay gap is very low or non-existent.

What can we do about the gender pay gap for senior roles?

The report shows that greater representation from women on boards had a positive effect on gender pay gaps. The data also highlights a number of areas that can be addressed to target and close the gender pay gap. One area is looking at recruitment and remuneration, especially in key management positions. New hires need to be drawn from a diverse pool and recruiting to a personal image must be minimised. Doing a thorough audit of the current talent pool and their remuneration and experience will also create better outcomes for gender pay gaps.

The leaders that set remuneration also need to look at the total package. The report found that men were receiving greater total remuneration packages. Men had better access to performance related or bonus pay. It’s time to look at how performance is rewarded and set a fair benchmark across all people.

What has your organisation done to close the gap? I’d love to hear your success stories.


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