Most Australian Employers Haven’t Taken Steps To Ensure They Pay Women Fairly

The Matildas celebrate after scoring against Brazil in Brisbane . They won the game 2-1. Photo: Getty

Almost three-quarters of Australian employers haven’t taken steps to ensure they pay women and men fairly, according to new data released from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

The federal agency says 73.7% of organisations have never done a gender pay gap analysis and less than one in five have done a gender pay gap analysis in the past 12 months.

And even if they did the analysis, almost one-third don’t taken action to address the gender pay gaps identified.

Of those organisations which haven’t done a gender pay gap analysis, the most common reasons were because pay is set by awards or industrial agreements, or because they pay “market rates”.

Helen Conway, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, says this highlights a widespread lack of awareness of how gender bias can creep into performance and pay decisions where any discretion in pay and performance assessments exists.

“Most leaders genuinely believe they pay people in their organisation fairly, but without examining their payroll data they simply don’t have the evidence to back that up,” she says.

“Employers who analyse their data tell us they always find instances of pay gaps that can’t be explained or justified, at least the first time the analysis is conducted, and so they take corrective action to fix imbalances and develop action plans to address the root causes.”

The agency will today launch a campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of pay equity in workplaces.

As part of the campaign, the Agency has developed a website,, which enables employees to see for themselves whether their organisation has undertaken a gender pay gap analysis.

Thirty-two chief executives from businesses across Australia and in a range of industries have signed up as ambassadors to lend their voice to this issue and urge all business leaders to make pay equity a priority.

“The leaders who are doing this work know they can’t attract and retain the best people and drive workplace productivity if there’s any unfairness or perception of unfairness in their workplaces. It just makes business sense,” Ms Conway says.

Organisations in the finance and insurance services sector were the most likely to have done a gender pay gap analysis (51.16%), followed by public administration and safety (46.2%) and mining (44.8%).

Education and training (10.14%), accommodation and food services (11.35%) and healthcare and social assistance (11.59%) industries were the least likely. These industries comprise three of the four most female-dominated industries.

Of those organisations that did conduct a gender pay gap analysis, around one-third (31.0%) hadn’t taken action to address the gender pay gaps identified.

CEO Ambassadors for pay equity:

1. David Anderson, Managing Director and Market Leader, Mercer, Pacific
2. Peter Acheson, CEO, Peoplebank Australia Limited
3. Peter Bailey, CEO and Chair, Arup Australasia
4. Robert Cutler, Chief Executive Partner, Clayton Utz
5. John W. H. Denton, Partner and CEO, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
6. Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University
7. Michelle Dixon, CEO, Maddocks
8. Ange Ferguson, Managing Director, Thoughtworks
9. Michael Fraser, Managing Director, AGL Energy
10. Michael Greene, Incoming Managing Partner, Henry Davis York
11. Andy Holmes, President, BP Australia and New Zealand
12. Andrew Little, Managing Director, DDB Australia
13. Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO and Managing Director, Mirvac
14. Jennie Mansfield, Partner and Global Board Member, Ashurst Australia
15. Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
16. Hamish McLennan, Executive Chairman and CEO, Network Ten
17. Jim Minto, Group CEO, TAL
18. Bill Morrow, CEO, NBN Co
19. Professor Ian O’Connor, Vice Chancellor, Griffith University
20. Craig Oliver, Director of Campus Life, CEO [email protected] Ltd
21. Lara Poloni, Chief Executive, AECOM Australia New Zealand
22. Steven Sewell, CEO and Managing Director, Federation Centres
23. Ian Silk, Chief Executive, AustralianSuper
24. Mike Smith, CEO, ANZ
25. Wayne Spanner, Managing Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia
26. Rachel Stocks, Managing Director, American Express Australia and New Zealand
27. David Thodey, CEO, Telstra
28. Andrew Thorburn, Group CEO, NAB
29. Bob Vassie, Managing Director and CEO, St Barbara
30. Chris Whitehead, CEO, CUA
31. Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG
32. Scott Wyatt, CEO, Viva Energy

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