Sunday, 8 March 2015 was International Women’s Day. In light of this, we looked at the gender pay gap in Australia and what this means for women, men and businesses.
We were moved by Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality earlier this month:
Unfortunately, new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that the national gender pay gap has increased to a record high of 18.8% in Australia. On average, a man working full-time earns $1,587.40 per week whereas a woman working full-time earns $1289.30 per week, which equates to a difference of $298.10 per week.
According to the report, the financial and insurance services industry had the highest gender pay gap (29.6%), followed by health care and social assistance (29.1%) and rental, hiring and real estate services (28.7%). the lowest gender pay gaps were in the public administration and safety (7.2%), other services (8.2%), and accommodation and food services (9.0%) industries.
SMEs are faced with a unique set of issues when it comes to managing and improving gender equality in their workplace. These can be broadly grouped into two main categories:
Issues related to achieving workplace gender equality:
- limited awareness of gender equality and pay equity within SMEs;
- negotiation skills amongst women contributing to pay inequity within SMEs; and
- competing priorities in a challenging economic environment.
Other, more specific small business management issues, such as:
- lower turnover rates;
- higher impact of parental leave costs;
- challenges in implementing flexible work options;
- limited or no HR resources (read more about the importance of HR here);
- limited resources to develop gender strategies and management systems; and
- limited data collection systems and processes.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is committed to assisting small business to manage and improve gender equality, and are currently running a series of pay equity workshops in Sydney and Melbourne.
It is against the law to discriminate based on gender. If you are concerned about your obligations as an employer or feel as though you have been personally discriminated against, please get in touch.