Many organisations in Australia failing to close the gender pay gap

A first-of-its-kind report has revealed that large organisations in Australia still tend to pay their male employees higher salaries than female employees.
By: | February 28, 2024

On average, male employees in Australia are earning around 22% more than their female counterparts, the country’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has revealed in a first-ever report that details gender pay gaps at organisations with more than 100 employees.

Katy Gallagher, Australia’s Minister for Women, said, “By shining a light on gender pay gaps at an employer level, we are arming individuals and organisations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces.

While describing the exposure of the gender pay gaps in large Australian organisations as a “turning point” for gender equality, more must be done to hold employers to account in further narrowing the disparity, said Professor Carol Kulik, a workplace diversity expert with the University of South Australia.

She added, “We now must be asking employers, in what roles and what levels of employment are pay gaps most prevalent? How are you (the employer) supporting employees’ caring responsibilities? What are you doing to ensure women move into roles where they are paid more? How long will it take for you to close your pay gap?”

“Until we show employers that their pay gaps influence our behaviour, they are unlikely to make the changes needed to narrow pay gaps.”

The key findings from the WGEA report, which was released after legislation was passed in March 2023 for Australian organisations to reveal the pay of their male and female employees, highlights that female employees are earning, on average, AU$26,393 (USD$17,232) less than men annually.

The difference in media base pay amounted to 14.5%, with only one-third of organisations having a median gender pay gap between the target range of -5% and +5%.

READ MORE: Australian wages and demand for labour expected to grow in 2024

Professor Kulik however, was quick to point out how pay is an important motivator of employee performance for both female and male employees. She cited the example of Denmark, where organisations, in an attempt to bridge the gender pay gap, overcompensated to such an extent that men ended up being paid less.