How employers can reduce the gender pay gap

Despite an international push for change, the gender pay gap in Australia is widening

How employers can reduce the gender pay gap

A significant statistic to reflect on this International Women’s Day is that the average woman in Australia earns $26,000 less per annum than her male counterpart.

Indeed, data released by the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency in late 2017 shows that men out-earn women across every industry, including female-dominant occupations such as childcare and nursing.

Despite an international push for change, the gap in Australia is widening, sitting 0.9% higher in 2017 than it was in 2016.

Moreover, only 120 out of the 5,000 or so eligible Australian businesses were identified as an employer of choice when it comes to gender equality in 2018.

Part of the reason the gender pay gap is increasing is that many businesses do not even know where to start when it comes to gender equality, according to HR specialist Simon Corcoran.

“Creating lasting gender equality is not simply a matter of giving women a raise,” said Corcoran, who is Co-CEO of A-HA! (A Human Agency).

“It is about creating an inclusive workplace where women have the opportunity to deliver, perform and progress within the company."

A-HA! recommends the following steps to begin the process to improve gender pay equity across businesses of all sizes:

  • Create a data-driven narrative in the organisation that analyses trends over periods of time
  • Create a formal policy and strategy covering recruitment, retention, talent identification, training and performance management
  • Promote flexible working and encourage managers to discuss flexible solutions with their team
  • Implement systems and processes which actively reduce gender bias
  • Assign a committee to oversee gender equality strategy and to raise awareness of the benefits of diversity across the business

Moreover, new research has found that teams managed by a balanced mix of men and women are more successful across a range of measurements.

The five-year study of 70 entities across different functions represents 50,000 managers worldwide.

Operating margins, client satisfaction and employee retention, among other key performance indicators, were all higher among gender-balanced teams, meaning a ratio between 40% - 60% women to men.

Sue Black, Sodexo global HR Director, energy and resources, said “these results add a new, compelling dimension to a growing body of research that demonstrates the business benefits of gender equity”.

“The distinctive nature of the study, with its examination of both financial and non-financial performance indicators across so many levels of management and the pipeline to leadership, is a significant piece of the overall picture on importance of gender in the workforce for enhanced outcomes,” said Black.

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