Today, Thursday 8 September 2016, is Equal Pay Day in Australia, marking the amount of time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same pay as men.
Using Average Weekly Earnings data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency calculates the national gender pay gap to be 16.2% for full-time employees, a difference of $261.10 per week.
While the gender pay gap has improved from a high of 18.8% in 2014, corporate Australia continues to drag their feet with only 15.4% of CEOs who are female and the gender pay gap in ASX 200 organisations at 28.7%. The gender pay gap is biggest in the sporting industry where it currently stands at 50%.
Bad news for women nearing retirement age, as the average superannuation balance for women at retirement is currently 52.8% less than for men.
Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), said Equal Pay Day was an important reminder that women’s earning capacity continues to lag behind men’s.
“Women working full-time need to work more than 14 months on average to earn the same as men earn in a year,” said Ms Lyons.
“Over a lifetime, compounded by time out of the workforce due to caring responsibilities, the gender pay gap contributes to greatly reduced lifetime earnings and retirement savings. On average, women retire with just half the superannuation savings of men.”
The national gender pay gap reflects the overall position of women in the workforce and does not reflect ‘like-for-like’ pay gaps for employees in the same or comparable roles. The gender pay gap is influenced by a range of factors including:
- women and men are concentrated in different kinds of jobs leading to industry and occupational segregation;
- earnings differences between male and female-dominated industries and occupations;
- under representation of women in senior positions;
- the distribution of unpaid caring responsibilities; and
- discrimination and bias.
On Equal Pay Day, the WGEA is urging all employers to take action to address gender pay gaps in their organisation and support women’s participation in the workforce and progression into senior and non-traditional roles.
“The persistent gender pay gap is a symbol that women’s potential is not being fully realised or valued in the workplace, at great cost to individuals and the economy,” said Ms Lyons. “It is beyond time to change that.”