In the middle of a ‘pink recession’ where the evidence demonstrates the disproportional impact of the pandemic on women, we’ve now seen data that reflects what we already know – both government and business leaders have dropped the ball for women.
Not only have more women lost more jobs and hours than men and have picked up additional unpaid caring responsibilities but they are also now suffering from the lack of will from industry to eliminate the gender pay gap.
The very small decline in the gap in the finance industry, of just 0.7%, does nothing to recognise the army of women working in retail banking who have stepped up during Covid, despite personal risk to ensure that the community has been able to access banking services. Most finance workers who have been unable to work from home during the pandemic are women, yet they are subject to a 21.2% gender pay gap, rising to 27.5% when you include discretionary pay like bonuses.
It simply isn’t good enough that employers in the finance industry, who have the deepest pockets and most capacity to eliminate this gap are the worst when it comes to gender pay. It seems that addressing the gender pay gap is becoming less of a priority for business with 6% fewer companies reporting that they were taking action to close the gender pay gap. In the banking and finance sector the union has become very used to Covid-19 being used as excuse for low pay offers, failure to negotiate new agreements, and business restructuring. Women are still earning less, getting smaller bonuses and other discretionary payments, and have smaller superannuation balances.
As stated by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary, Finance Sector Union: “Closing the pay gap is not difficult. It is a matter of having the will, establishing priorities, and making a plan.”
“Women have borne the burden in the finance industry of manning our retail branch network, yet they continue to suffer with a disproportionately low share of discretionary pay, and earn up to 27.5% less than their male counterparts.”
“It is morally corrupt that the finance industry, with their very deep pockets keeps winning the prize for the largest gender pay gap. Our economy can’t wait until 2050 for the pay gap to close, we need employers to step up and do the right thing for their workers, and the economy.”