There is a key pay issue in Australia – and now the momentum is building for employers to be clear about what is happening within their company.
Australian companies should be required to disclose their gender pay gap, the director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has said, proposing a decision similar to that taken by the UK in 2017.
Britain introduced a legal requirement five years ago for companies with more than 250 employees to disclose their gender pay gap.
But in Australia, the WGEA can only reveal any gender pay gap at industry level, rather than for individual companies.
“We do not have the ability to report on gender pay gaps, or any corporate pay information,” WGEA Director Mary Wooldridge said at an event for the Global Institute. for Women’s Leadership from the Australian National University. “We do it at the industry level, but not at the individual company level,” she said.
“We think we need this transparency in terms of the gender pay gap at the corporate level,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Earlier this year, data from the agency showed that women earn a $25,800 less on average than men, and that between 2020 and 2021 around 85% of employers still had pay gaps in favor of men.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the change in the UK has forced employers to narrow their pay gaps.
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“There’s no doubt that the fact that it identifies businesses and you literally see a business…has [a certain] the gender pay gap is a motivator for change,” Ms Gillard said at the ANU event.
Women earn $7.72 for every $10 a man earns
Over 50% of businesses in the UK have plans to take action on gender equality, but in Australia progress has remained stubbornly slow.
The most recent report from the WGEA, which looked at employers with 100 or more employees, found that while four in 10 employers have narrowed their pay gap since last year, it has widened for 37% of employers and 21% remained generally static.
Typically, women earned $7.72 for every $10 earned by men, and each of Australia’s 19 industries still has a pay gap in favor of men – even those where women make up most employees, such as health care and social assistance.
Men are twice as likely to be paid top dollars as women, earning $120,000 and above.
Ms Gillard, who created the WGEA and the Workplace Gender Equality Act in 2012, said greater transparency was needed as working from home also threatened to make women ‘invisible’ in the labor market.
“We know that domestic work and care work are not evenly distributed,” she said.
“There is a risk that if nothing else changes, in five years we will see a pattern where women have chosen, especially women in the family formation phase, have disproportionately chosen to work at home. home.
“Men are much more regular in the office…and if nothing else changes, it will show who is considered for promotion, who is considered for sponsorship and mentorship, and who is put on the best training opportunities.
Earlier this year, two women created an automated bot that called on hypocritical companies to celebrate International Women’s Day, despite a “stinky pay gap” between men and women.
The account, Gender Pay Gap Bot, revealed the big difference some organizations have between the hourly wages of their male and female employees.
It targeted UK businesses, where information was available at company level, with the most recent data showing an overall gender pay gap of 7.9% across the country.
Originally published as Calls to force Australian companies to publicly reveal the gender pay gap