The gender pay gap is closing, but men are still earning an average $26,527 a year more than women.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency Director Libby Lyons tells FlexCareers that, in its fourth year of reporting, WGEA has seen a major “step change”, with more employers prioritising gender pay equity with over half now having formal remuneration policies in place, she said:
“We have seen a remarkable 10.8% rise in the last year in the proportion of employers analysing their remuneration for gender pay gaps”
However, the annual data set shows that the gender pay gap widens to a staggering $89,516 for those in senior management positions. Ms Lyons tells FlexCareers that she is disappointed in the lack of change in Australian boardrooms:
“Men still dominate around these top tables, and the data suggests boards are not engaging with gender equality issues.”
Under-representation of women in senior management positions also continues to be an issue, however there are encouraging signs, with Ms Lyons noting that women are being promoted into management positions at a higher rate than in previous years.
A greater number of organisations have formal flexibility policies and/or strategies in place, an increase of 10.8% since 2013-14. That’s fantastic news and certainly in line with the shift in the market FlexCareers has been involved with. FlexCareers CEO, Natalie Goldman said:
“In the last 12-months, FlexCareers has worked with more than 500 new employer partners to promote flexible working, create and embed flexible working policies or provided training to leadership teams on how to drive change and create a more flexible organisation.”
WGEA reports that currently, only a quarter of businesses provide formal training to managers on how to manage flexibility, but Ms Goldman is confident that this is set to change in 2018, she said:
“FlexCareers has seen exponential growth in our training and consulting business in 2017, a trend set to continue in 2018. We believe that the majority of organisations now understand that workplace flexibility is a key driver for gender equality in the workplace and they want to support their leaders to be successful.”
Financial Services companies topped the list in terms of flexible working, with 81.6% having formal strategies and policies in place to support staff to work flexibly. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has the lowest proportion (down 2.1pp to 48.9%), and the strongest improvements were in Education and Training (up 11.4pp to 58.4%) and Construction (up 9.4pp to 53.5%).
Support for Parents & Carers
62% of organisations report they have a formal policy and/or strategy to support employees with family and caring responsibilities however non-leave support strategies, including breastfeeding facilities and referral services to support employees with family and/or caring responsibilities.
There is still a lack of employer-subsidised childcare and return to work bonuses on return from parental leave. Over eight in 10 (81.9%) employers offered other forms of support, especially flexible working arrangements (61.0%), access to unpaid leave (59.6%) and referral to appropriate domestic violence support services for expert advice (34.9%).
Financial and Insurance Services remains the industry with the highest total remuneration gender pay gap at 31.9%. However, progress is being made with a year-on-year decrease since 2013-14. Female-dominated industries of Health Care and Social Assistance and Education and Training each saw an increase in the gender pay gap in the past 12 months.
Women’s Representation at Management Level, and on Boards
The rate at which women are being promoted and appointed to manager roles has increased since last year and is proportionately higher than the rate of women’s current representation in management. However, this progress stalls at Board level, with only a small increase in the number of women holding Director and Chair positions. FlexCareers is encouraged by the positive steps made by Australian businesses. Ms Goldman said:
“Whilst we still have a long way to go, we are excited by the progress made – particularly in the last 12 months. This report, together with the conversations we are having with leaders from Australian businesses, clearly demonstrate to us that the contribution women make is valued and that it is recognised that more needs to be done to redress the balance of power in the workplace, and at home.”
For more information please visit the full dataset at http://data.wgea.gov.au/.