Get 40% Off
⚠ Earnings Alert! Which stocks are poised to surge?
See the stocks on our ProPicks radar. These strategies gained 19.7% year-to-date.
Unlock full list

Gender pay gap revealed at Australian businesses

Published 27/02/2024, 05:11 pm
Updated 09/07/2023, 08:32 pm

On Tuesday, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WEGA) published pay breakdowns by gender for every company in Australia with more than 100 employees.

Key points
  • New database has details on gender pay disparity at all major Australian companies.
  • Male employees earn a median of $18,641 higher than female employees.
  • Minister for Women Senator Katy Gallagher says the report is about "driving improved performance".
  • Nationals Senator Matt Canavan says the data is "useless" and "divisive".

Across all industries and professions, men's total remuneration was 19% above that of women, the median male employee earning $18,641 more each year.

Construction (31.8%), Finance and Insurance (26.1%) and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (26.1%) were the industries with the biggest pay gap.

A2 Milk (40.5%), Qantas (37%) and AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) (33.2%) were among the companies where the disparity between its male and female employees was widest.

Senator Katy Gallagher, Minister for Finance and Minister for Women, says the report isn't about naming and shaming, but transparency and accountability.

"This is really about driving improved performance, making sure businesses understand what is going on in their own business," she told ABC AM radio on Tuesday morning.

ACTU President Michele O'Neil says this report is an important step in the fight for equality and against workplace discrimination.

"It shines a light on entrenched practices and structural inequalities that see women in the lowest paid positions and being concentrated in occupations and jobs with low wages," she said.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said the report is "useless data".

"[The Gender Pay Report] does not even correct for basic differences like hours worked," he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

He said it would breed "resentment and division" and that it is likely to push more young men towards the likes of the hugely controversial influencer Andrew Tate, widely condemned for his attitude towards women and currently on trial for human trafficking.

The Gender Pay Report is useless data because it does not even correct for basic differences like hours worked. The Gender Pay Report is now the annual Andrew Tate recruitment drive. It just breeds resentment and division. Andrew Tate is so popular because governments and…

Closing the gap

These numbers come from taking the earnings of all employees throughout the company, regardless of the position they hold.

Qantas have already sought to clarify to the public that these differences don't mean that female staff get paid less than male peers, but that more men occupy higher paying roles like pilots or engineers.

"We are working hard to encourage more women into pilot and engineering roles particularly through our two academies, but the years of training required for these roles means improving the gender balance of these work groups will take time," Qantas chief people officer Catherine Walsh said.

In every sector reported in, women make up a smaller proportion of the upper quartile earners than they do the overall workforce, even in female dominated industries like Education or Healthcare.

More men work full time than women (63% compared to 43%, per the WGEA), which likely also contributes to the disparity in pay, as highlighted by critics like Mr Canavan.

The WGEA put this down to "standing gender stereotypes and norms around care roles, lack of accessible childcare and flexible work."

% of Female employees vs % of Female Upper Quartile earners by sector

A cost to everyone?

A report from the Grattan Institute found removing disincentives for women to enter the workforce would improve the productive capacity of the economy by $25 billion a year.

WGEA research has also found that gender discrimination results in $348 million per week in lost national earnings.

Ms Gallagher says the gender pay gap costs the Australian economy nearly $52 billion each year.

"[These numbers come from] looking at the cost of underutilisation of women, of women making choices about the nature of the work they do," she told ABC AM.

"We see that where the data is, where there’s a number, equality on boards, equality in the workplace, that those businesses have improved performance.

"But we’re not pretending that it’s an easy situation to solve."

"Gender pay gap revealed at Australian businesses" was originally published on and was republished with permission.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.