Connie McKeage

Is the gender pay gap confusing your career happiness?

Onevue CEO Connie McKeage calls for industry change on the gender pay gap conversation so that women are not having to sacrifice career happiness for money.

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The gender pay gap can highlight the best and worst about a sector, but in doing so, are we dashing the hopes and career happiness of women who are not necessarily driven by the chase of the highest paying salaries?

It’s a point that was recently made by the CEO of Australian listed fintech company, Onevue’s Connie McKeage, who in the article below calls for pay parity to happen quicker in sectors so that women no longer have to second guess the career paths of their choice.

What the Financy Woman’s Index does is provide us with important and timely facts.  Facts that I look forward to receiving so that we can be as well informed as possible when we make life choices.

We need to know if there are still wage disparities between men and women in the same roles or if women are unrepresented in management or boardrooms across Australia.  Are we getting a chance to be heard on issues that could well affect us all – men and women alike as well as our children and grandchildren? 

Let’s not confuse however our right to earn equal pay for the same role, or the need to have diversity on boards and in management with our ability to choose sectors that might not be the highest paid but that give us career happiness.

I found it very interesting to read that health is the country’s biggest employer of women, although they are seriously underrepresented at management level.

Health Care and Social Assistance, pays on average below the national average weekly wage, having one of the worse gender pay gaps which start straight out of tertiary studies.

This made me start thinking about what we value and how we reward people for the work that they do.

This was top of mind for me as a few weeks ago I attended a funeral.

My friend’s brother died, he was only 52.  As I sat in the Church and watched his family and saw their pain to my immediate left were two beautiful young people who sobbed throughout the ceremony.  When we got up to leave I tapped one on the shoulder and asked, how do you know Sammy?

The young women were Sammy’s carers.  And for the next 15 minutes I heard how much they loved him.

He had a wicked sense of humour, he was so strong, he never complained.

I thought to myself if I were to find myself in this position how lucky would I be to have people looking after me who not only cared for me but cared about me.

How much value would I put on that?  Then I thought about Financial Services but I wondered about a sector where people often made millions compared to the health care sector, one of the worse paid and highest growth sectors with female enrolments up by 36 per cent compared to 29 per cent for men.

There is much good news in this quarter’s Financy Index, but for Financial Services and Health Care and Social Assistance the gender pay gap remains unacceptable and actually rose to 26.9 per cent and 25.8 per cent respectively in November.

So let’s get the basics right and fight for equality of pay across all sectors and let’s continue to get these facts so that we know what we are aiming for and how we are progressing – or not.

However first and foremost let’s really strive to overcome these wage disparities so that we can encourage those we care about, men or women, to pursue work that makes them happy.

If its financial services that’s wonderful but if it is not and they find meaning in something else then that’s good too.

As was well said in a Harvard Business Review article dealing with money and happiness, Happiness, well, that’s not so easy to put a number on.

It can’t be hedged or shorted, and you can’t put it in a presentation with flashy charts and graphs. It’s up to you to envision a future that includes a lot more than just money.

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