Surprise, Surprise, The Gender Pay Gap Is Still A Very Real Problem In Australia

A staggering 85 percent of employers still pay men more than women for the same positions.

gender pay gap

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In news that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone at this point, Australia’s gender pay gap is still alive and well, with a new report revealing that women — on average — take home a staggering $25,800 less than their male counterparts per year.

Before we dive into the figures, it’s important to note that the report doesn’t account for trans, non-binary or other gender-diverse employees — who are undoubtedly also victims of wage inequality.

The report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) studied figures from the 2020/21 financial year and concluded that approximately 85 percent of employers still paid men more for the same positions.

On average, women earned just $7.72 for every $10 a man earned when analysing data from the 19 industries that still display a gender pat gap in Australia — including industries like healthcare and social assistance, which are female-dominated industries.

Overall, women are over-represented in the bottom level of the workforce, and under-represented in the top level, which should come as a shock to literally anyone who has looked at the board of any company on the ASX 200.

“Our latest insights show this pattern clearly: 22 percent of all boards still don’t have a single woman in the room and about three-quarters of all boards have a vast majority of men,” WGEA director Mary Wooldridge told “Of those heavily male-dominated boards, only 12 percent have set a target to increase the representation of women, and on average that target is only 35 percent — not even what is generally considered a balanced board.”

The issue of gender pay inequality is most notable at the top end of the workforce, where men are twice as likely to make over $120,000 per year than women. TWICE. Sadly, the figures have shown very little improvement on previous years, which is particularly concerning considering how many people simply refuse to admit the gender pay gap even exists in Australia.

Pay gaps are highest in the construction and finance industries, with a 30.6 and 29.5 percent difference, respectively. However, it’s worth noting that finance has actually seen the biggest improvement across the board when it comes to fixing the issue — thus illustrating how bad it used to be — with the gap closing by 9.2 percent over the last eight years.

While many people — largely those who benefit from the gender pay gap — are quick to argue that the issue comes down to negotiation skills, it is obvious that pay secrecy clauses and people simply not discussing their salaries with their peers is a huge part of the problem.

“Organisations that are transparent and accountable with their pay gap audits saw an average reduction of 3.3 percentage points in their organisation-wide gender pay gap in one year,” noted Wooldridge.

We still have miles to go when it comes to closing the pay inequality across the board — for not only women, but people of colour, gender diverse people and those with disabilities — but the easiest way to ensure you and your coworkers are getting a fair go is to talk about it.

If you have discovered you are being paid less than your male colleagues and don’t feel comfortable discussing it with your employer, you can join your union or contact FairWork for further assistance.