National gender pay gap remains stable

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) announced today that the national gender pay gap has remained stable at 13.9%, a drop of just 0.1 percentage points over the last six months.

Using the latest Average Weekly Earnings trend series data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, WGEA has calculated the national gender pay gap as 13.9% for full-time employees, a difference of $242.90 per week.

Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, said that although she always welcomes a decline in the gender pay gap, she would have liked to see a much larger fall.

“The latest gender pay gap result is actually quite disappointing. It is yet another indication that progress towards gender equality in our workplaces may be slowing. I am concerned that a degree of complacency is creeping back into the Australian business community. The danger signs are clear. I want to see far more action and accountability from employers and business leaders; we must pick up the pace to close the gender pay gap. Going backwards is not an option.

“Over the last seven years, the private sector has done a great deal to drive positive gender equality outcomes in Australian workplaces and I applaud them for this. However, it is not enough just to have policies and strategies in place. Policies and strategies will not solve the underlying gender equality problems in an organisation. There must be action. Employers need to put genuine targets in place and make people accountable for meeting these targets. We know that when employers take action to close their gender pay gaps and regularly monitor the results, the pay gap declines.

“Closing the gender pay gap is, at its heart, a human rights issue. The pay gap shapes the lives of Australian women from the moment they enter the workforce. There is a pay gap in favour of men in our workforce even at graduate level. By the end of their working lives, women retire with far less superannuation savings, on average, than men. They are also increasingly likely to encounter poverty or homelessness in retirement. That this is happening to half the population of Australia in 2020 is, quite simply, unacceptable.

“As a business leader, if you accept that your organisation has a gender pay gap and you take no action to close it, you are effectively telling Australian women that the work they do is of less value than that of men. Today, I am imploring all employers and business leaders to step up and take action to ensure the work of their female employees is valued and rewarded equitably. By closing Australia’s gender pay gap, we will improve the lives of Australian women, their families and communities and boost our nation’s economic activity at a time when it is desperately needed,” she said.

About the national gender pay gap

The national gender pay gap measures the difference between the average weekly full-time base salary earnings of women and men, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.

Equal pay is different to the gender pay gap. Australian women won the legal right to equal pay in 1969. Equal pay is ensuring that women are paid the same as men for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value.

Key facts

  • The national gender pay gap is 13.9%. It has declined from 14.0% in the past 6 months and from 14.1%

    this time last year.

  • On average, women working full-time earned $1,508.50 while men working full-time earned $1,751.40.
  • Full-time average weekly earnings difference between women and men is $242.90.

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