Is HR doing enough to address gender inequality?

by John Hilton14 Dec 2017
The 2016-17 workplace data released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) last month found more employers are taking action to address pay gaps and gender imbalances that persist across the economy.

WGEA Director Libby Lyons said the dataset covering over four million employees and 11,000 employers shows strong improvement in employer awareness - but the pace of change needs to increase.

“In Australia today, men still out earn women in every industry and across all occupations,” said Lyons.
“This is not about women’s choices: whether you are a manager, a scientist, a butcher, a baker or even a TV presenter, there is a gender pay gap favouring men.”

Peter Acheson, CEO Peoplebank, told HRD that as a Pay Equity Ambassador, his experience is that training is the first step to closing the gender gap.

“It is essential to begin by raising awareness of when and where unconscious biases are creeping in,” said Acheson.

As an example, the Peoplebank employee is trained to pick up on subtle job ad words that can shape a potential applicant’s response.

“Using masculine language – adjectives like ‘competitive’ and ‘dynamic’ – can lead some women to feel they might not fit in with a particular culture,” he said.

“By being aware of what an unconscious bias looks like, the Peoplebank team is better equipped to counter instances of unconscious biases.”

Colin Brookes, President and managing director SAP Australia and New Zealand said that the fact Australia’s national gender pay gap is 15.3% shows employers still aren’t doing enough to reduce gender inequality.

“Until this is zero and we are no longer talking about the issue we all have more to do,” he said.

“Through SAP’s commitment to becoming an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality we ensure starting salaries for females and males are on par for similar roles and experience levels; we’ve increased workplace flexibility, and recently signed WGEA’s Pay Equity pledge.

“Through our efforts we’ve lowered SAP’s gender pay gap to 2%, and are well on our way to eliminating it entirely.”

Related stories:
Are D&I initiatives up to the task?
Do your employees bring their ‘whole selves’ to work?
Australian men earn $26k a year more than women


  • by Charlie Carter 14/12/2017 11:28:54 AM

    Does a Division 1 registered male nurse earn more than a Division 1 registered female nurse?

  • by Emily Wells 15/12/2017 11:30:01 AM

    Gender means male, female, both or neither. The sooner HR starts to get it right, perhaps the sooner true inclusion and equity will occur across the workforce.