Women’s pay is a complicated issue

We’re well into the 21st century and the past few decades have brought about huge changes, but the gender pay gap remains.

1898 0

We’re well into the 21st century and the past few decades have brought about huge changes and more opportunities for women’s pay in the workplace, but the wage gap remains.

As of 2017, the stats show us there’s still a long way to go.

On a brighter note, they also point to a few areas of improvement.

So to give you a better idea of what’s happening, let’s take a closer look.

Firstly, how is the pay gap calculated?

There is a lot of confusion about what the pay gap actually means.

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the pay gap is “the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.”

This is based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Right now, the national gap is sitting at 16 per cent.

Over the past 20 years, it has hovered between 15 per cent and 19 per cent.

So why does the gap still exist?

The pay gap is influenced by a number of work, family and societal factors – not to mention continuing stereotypes around the type of work women ‘should’ do, and how women ‘should’ be behaving at work.

Some of the other factors include:

* Women working in different industries and different jobs
* Not enough women in senior roles
* A lack of part-time and flexible work arrangements
* Differences in education, work experience and seniority
* Direct and indirect discrimination
* Women still take up most of the unpaid caring work

The WGEA regularly reports gender pay gap stats in Australia.

Here are some of the key findings from their latest fact sheet:

* The full-time gender pay gap is 16.0 per cent
* The full-time average earnings difference is $261.30
* South Australia has the lowest gender pay gap of 11.2 per cent
* Western Australia has the highest at 23.9 per cent
* The Public Administration and Safety sector has the lowest pay gap of 7.1 per cent
* The Financial and Insurance Services sector has the highest at 30.8 per cent
* On average, men earn weekly full-time earnings of $1,631.00, while women earn $1,369.30

In every single industry, the pay gap favours men.

Some of the highest gaps can still be found in female-dominated industries such as health care and social assistance.

So what does the future hold?

There are some incredibly steep mountains still to climb, but according the WGEA’s 2017 Gender Equity Insights Report, there are some positives.

* The average full-time gender pay gap has declined since 2015
* Gender pay gaps in 12 of the 19 major industries have declined
* Organisations with women in executive leadership roles have smaller pay gaps

Movement is slow, and gender workplace segregation and lower pay in female-dominated organisations aren’t helping the cause at all.

But reports and stats are telling us that increasing diversity in the workplace is forcing organisational change and creating better pay outcomes from women.

Subscribe to Financy®

Get your Financy fortnightly fix with Financy Rewards, content and more. Plus each quarter you'll receive the latest Financy Women's Index, helping you keep pace with women's financial progress.

In this article