• FWX Dec qtr 2023  75.5
  • FWX yr-o-yr  1
  • FWX qtr-o-qtr  2
  • ASX 200 Boards years to equality  6.3
  • Underemployment years to equality  21
  • Superannuation years to equality  17.7
  • Gender pay gap years to equality  21.9
  • Employment years to equality  27.5
  • Unpaid work years to equality  46.1
  • Education years to equality  389

Will WGEA data reduce a 24 year wait to pay parity?

There are high hopes that WGEA’s new gender pay gap data will help reduce a 24 year wait to achieve pay parity.
February 27, 2024

The highly anticipated release of gender pay gaps for nearly 5000 companies is a big step towards gender equality in Australia, true… but to what extent will it reduce the 24 year wait for pay parity?

As it stands the latest Financy Women’s Index shows almost a quarter of a century wait to close the gender pay gap in Australia.

This estimate is based on the national average for the gender pay gap being 12%, down from 13% in May, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Average Adult Full Time Weekly Wages.

The next Women’s Index calculations on gender pay gap timelines will be released March 5, ahead of International Women’s Day.

Financy expects that the recent improvement in the gender pay gap will help to reduce the time frame to equality, but marginally at best. And by that we mean an improvement measured by months not years.

Calculating the number of years to achieve equality based on the gender pay gap is a matter of looking at the annual rate of progress and using a line of best fit method.

Because the rate of progress in recent years has been so painfully slow, we will need to literally see years of significant and unbroken improvement in this area before we start talking about a decade’s wait, rather than over two.

In other words, we employers, politicians and employees, cannot afford to drop the ball or ease the pressure if we want pay parity realised this lifetime.

Until then, the thought of waiting 24 years to close the gender pay gap is deflating at best, particularly as the new data shows that over two thirds of companies that voluntarily report their gender pay gaps to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), are significant under performers.

Today WGEA gave the media a story or two and half to publish by releasing the base salary and total remuneration median gender pay gaps for private sector employers in Australia with 100 or more employees.

As Professor Carol Kulik of the University of South Australia noted:

“This could be the start of something big.” No surprises in the data, a sizable gender pay gap across the board, and several poor performing industries. But what an opportunity to engage a wide range of stakeholders in the conversation! We can finally move from asking “what is the gap?” to “what are you doing about the gap?”

She adds that further actions are imperative to ensure employers with pay gaps are held accountable.

“We now must be asking employers, in what roles and what levels of employment are pay gaps most prevalent? How are you (the employer) supporting employees’ caring responsibilities? What are you doing to ensure women move into roles where they are paid more? How long will it take for you to close your pay gap?

“Until we show employers that their pay gaps influence our behaviour, they are unlikely to make the changes needed to narrow pay gaps,” Prof Kulik says.

Professor Alan Duncan, the Director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, added pay audits, accountability and greater representation of women in leadership and on boards have all been shown to improve gender equity outcomes within Australian organisations. The publication of organisational gender pay gaps offers great potential to accelerate the pace of change and will ultimately add to women’s economic equality in the workplace.”

So what do the WGEA results tell us?

In 2023, the WGEA reported that the average gender pay gap was 21.7%, meaning women in Australia are earning, on average, $26,393 less a year than men.

In the context of that, WGEA’s latest release shows:

• The average 30% of employers have a median gender pay gap between the target range of -5% and +5%.

• 62% of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5% and in favour of men.
• The rest (8%) are less than -5% and in favour of women.
• Across all employers, 50% have a gender pay gap of over 9.1%.

And if you are on the job hunt, and we expect that many people could be after today’s pay gaps were revealed, here are some pay gap insights to ponder!

  • Supermarket Woolworths: 5.7 per cent
  • Rival Coles: 6 per cent
  • Smaller rival Aldi: 5.3 per cent
  • Department store Myer: 2.8 per cent
  • Retailer JB HiFi: 1.9 per cent
  • Parent company of carb-pusher Bakers Delight: 35 per cent
  • Burger chain Grill’d: 12.5 per cent
  • Optometrists Specsavers: 7.4 per cent
  • Travel agents Flight Centre: 16.8 per cent
  • Telco Optus: 13.5 per cent
  • Commonwealth Bank: 29.8 per cent
  • Westpac: 27 per cent
  • ANZ: 22.7 per cent
  • NAB: 16.4 per cent
  • Collingwood Football Club: 42 per cent
  • Adelaide Football Club: 30 per cent


Financy covers gender finance, diversity, inclusion and ESG issues. We advocate for gender equity change through the Women’s Index report and help businesses take action on DEI through tech solutions like IMPACTER.

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February 27, 2024
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