With the sheer number of talented women in the workforce and extensive support programs on offer, one might think employers could be close to cracking the gender pay gap. Yet the lack of transparency, limited choices and barriers to progress unfortunately still prevail for women across many organisations.
But thankfully, some great new progress is being made. Progressive business leaders across Australia have now publicly committed to a new agreement that aims to close any gender pay gaps in like-for-like roles within their organisations.
Closing the Gender Gap report
Closing the Gender Gap report was launched by the Male Champions of Change coalition, with support from leading employers like EY, and offers a step by step resource to help organisations accelerate their efforts to achieve pay equity.
EY Partner and pay, diversity and performance expert, Rohan Connors, explains that “addressing a like for like gap is easy to fix in the moment but what’s more difficult is to keep it closed as you go through hiring cycles, bring people on and have people leave.” And this is where the report is pragmatic and especially valuable to industry. By explaining the various ways in which gender pay gaps can emerge, the report provides information on best-practice approaches to prevent and respond to any like-for-like pay gaps.
EY, as a progressive and inclusive employer, has reduced its pay gap from 1.4 per cent to 0.4 per cent in two years because they focused on gender pay equity as a major priority. In addition to a raft of progressive initiatives, EY focuses heavily on their contribution globally to making a better working world.
No excuse for gender inequality
122 leaders from business, sporting organisations, universities and government agencies have welcomed the call to action in addressing the gender pay gap. One of these signatories praising the report was Lendlease Group CEO and Managing Director, Steve McCann. "Having regular, scrutinised and actioned reporting is a game-changer - real-time access to relevant data becomes hard to ignore and demands action." Impressive signatories like EY Oceania Chief Executive Officer Tony Johnson and EY Partner, Adam Fennessy, have also committed support. “There’s no excuse for a woman performing the same role as a man to be paid any less. When you’re given the same duties, responsibility, accountability and difficulty, and performing these duties at or above the norm, you should not only expect to be paid the same as your colleagues, but demand it,” reinforces Tony.
Equal pay day
To focus attention and provide a call to action, Equal Pay Day marks the additional time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same as men.
Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in Australia, explains “The gender pay gap is a measure of lost potential, showing that women still face barriers to accessing senior and high-paying roles.” Although there has been a small improvement in pay equality over the past year, statistics by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the national gender pay gap is still at a disappointing 15.3 per cent. “A small improvement over the past year is good news but we need a continued effort to stamp out bias and outdated gender stereotypes,” comments Libby.
Same job same pay
Signatories to the Closing the Gender Pay Gap report are inviting other Australian leaders to join forces with them in addressing gender pay gap issues. “This is a joint and concerted effort to help make unjustifiable pay differences in like-for-like roles for men and women a matter of history in Australia,” says Male Champions of Change Convenor, Elizabeth Broderick, who believes that leaders pragmatically focusing on addressing the gender pay gap will help accelerate the advancement of gender equality overall in our society. “Employers must step up and play their part. All leaders have the power to analyse their data and take action on pay gaps within their organisations,” she commented.
While women make up the vast majority of positions in the Australian public service, they are under-represented in top leadership roles where there is more influence and pay. And, although improving, the number of women in private sector roles continues to be an important requiring an ongoing focus and smart action.
Get involved every Equal Pay Day
Spread the word for Equal Pay Day each year via these great ideas from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency:
1. Join the conversation on social media @WGEAgency
2. Take an Equal Pay Day selfie
3. Find out what the pay gap is in your industry and campaign for change
You can also visit the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Data Explorer and see what’s happening in your industry, from gender pay gaps to women in leadership and support for parents and carers.
And to research current job vacancies with progressive employers who take women’s pay equality very seriously, click here.
Find out more