Equal Pay Day – 4 September 2010

For those that have not heard of Equal Pay Day before, this day marks the number of additional days after the end of the financial year that women in Australia have to work to earn as much as men did in that year.

The latest (May 2010) Australian Bureau of Statistics Average Weekly Earnings data shows that the national gender pay gap for full time workers, before overtime and bonuses were taken into account, is 17.6%. Note that this is for full time workers so the difference is not because women are working part time more than men! In order to match the average earnings received by men in the last financial year a woman would be required to work until 4 September 2010.  This day has shifted out from 1 September last year.

Many people working in business and finance assume that this doesn’t apply to them or their company.  But the facts are:

  • Female graduates entering the workforce earn $3,000 pa less than male graduates.
  • Women executive managers in Australia’s Top 200 companies earn an average of 28.3% less than their male peers.

If you’re interested in these statistics, have a look at EOWA. Pay, Power and Position: Beyond the 2008 EOWA Australian Census of Women in Leadership, 2009.

So what can you do about it?  Talk about this in your organisation – does your organisation carry out an annual gender pay audit?  Businesses can be transparent about pay and bonuses.   The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) recommend that organisations identify and determine the reasons for any pay gaps across an organisation. They also have some other business tips for achieving greater gender balance generally in an organisation:

  1. Use a targeted recruitment strategy to source females for vacant middle to senior management roles
  2. Investigate areas of the organisation that are losing women – some tools include focus groups or in depth exit surveys
  3. Create strong mentoring and networking programs for women
  4. Encourage work/life balance in the organisation. Have strong flexible working practices in place and have senior management show leadership on the use of these

We can help you investigate and implement change across any of these areas if you need help.  Let’s hope we start to see Equal Pay Day shifting backwards to the end of the financial year where it really lives.