The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)’s annual update on the state of workplace gender equality revealed that the average total remuneration gender pay gap has dropped to 21.7 per cent in 2023.
This equates to a decrease of 1.1 percentage points (from 22.8 per cent in 2022), which is the second largest single year drop since WGEA began collecting employer data in 2014.
Based on the results of WGEA’s largest ever Employer Census, the Gender Equality Scorecard 2022-23 covers 4.82 million Australian employees.
The average annual pay difference between men and women has narrowed by $1,322, however, a gap of $26,393 remains.
According to the Women and the Mine of the Future Global Report, a significant share of employment in the large-scale mining sector is held by men — and overall women are paid less than men in the industry.
In 2023, employers across most industries made strong progress in the following key areas:
- Gender Pay Gap: The average total remuneration gender pay gap decreased by 1.1 per cent.
- Workforce composition: The proportion of employees working in non-highly gender segregated industries reached 50 per cent for the first time.
- Flexible work: 84 per cent of employers have a flexible work policy and for the first time more than 50 per cent also hold leaders to account for improving flexibility.
- Parental leave policies: 63 per cent offer some form of employer-funded paid parental leave. Of those employers, 33 per cent offer it equally to women and men without using labels that define a carer’s role in the family unit as ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ (up 9pp from 2022) and 86 per cent pay superannuation on that leave (up 3pp).
More marginal improvements were made on:
- Gender pay gap analysis: 70 per cent employers have a policy or strategy to achieve equal remuneration, but only 55 per cent conducted an analysis to understand what is driving their gender pay gaps.
- Uptake of parental leave: Women still account for the majority of primary carer’s leave taken and men account for the majority of secondary carer’s leave taken. The proportion of men who make up all paid primary carer’s leave taken increased just 0.6pp to 14 per cent.
- Empowering a workplace culture that promotes flexible work: While most employers now have a flexible work policy, only 43 per cent provide managers with specific training on flexible work and the proportion offering team training has dropped to 35 per cent.
Further attention is required for:
- Women’s representation on boards: The proportion of women members on boards stayed the same as the previous year at 34 per cent.
- Flexibility in management: While 57 per cent of women work part-time or casually, just 7 per cent of all manager roles are part-time.
- Industry segregation: Compared to male-dominated industries, female-dominated industries are three times less likely to analyse their payroll for gender pay gaps and take action as a result.
- Consultation: 47 per cent of employers reported they consult employees on gender equality, but only three in 10 employers have a formal policy or strategy to do so. This figure has not changed from 2021-22.
WGEA Chief Executive Officer Mary Wooldridge said: “Increased discussion and debate around gender equality, a tight labour market and impeding legislative reform have helped drive action on workplace gender equality over the last year.”
According to the update, the proportion of female managers now sits at 42 per cent — which is an increase from last years’ 41 per cent.
“As this trend continues, we can expect to see the gender pay gap continue to fall. This is promising as it signals that employers are increasingly prioritising gender equality as a core business measure and taking action to tackle workforce composition at the manager level,” said Wooldridge.
Wooldridge stated that this Scorecard serves as a starting point for employers to assess their performance on the national scale, in a way that is also relative to industry peers, allowing them to identify opportunities for improvement.