In Australia, the average adult hourly female wage is 89% of the average adult hourly male wage for non-managerial employees, even though more women than men hold a bachelor’s degree. A recent report published by the ABS show that female graduates have a median starting salary of $59,000 and $60,100 andit also found that women earn less in 15 out of 19 key industries in 2017, with the largest gap existing in financial and insurance services.
The sad fact about this is that the women are no less skilled, and no less educated than men in the same roles are. In like-for-like roles, women are just as capable, just as educated, and just as successful in their roles as men are, and sometimes, even more so.
The report also highlights that more women hold higher education qualifications than men, but still, there are less women on boards, less women as CEOs, ministers and parliamentarians, judges and justices. Alarmingly, only 1 in 6 CEOs of a non-public sector organisation is a woman.
There is good news though, the proportion of female key management personnel, general managers and other executives has increased by 3% with women now holding approximately 30% of these roles. At least the government is trying to lead by example, even if there is still a long, long way to go.
Over the last decade, the number of senior executive service managers of the Australian Public Service who are women has grown from 35% to 43%; and women who are Federal Circuit Court Judges have also increased from 28% to 43% over the last 10-years.
Which industries pay women more?
The only industries which pay women the same or more than their male counterparts are engineering and related technologies. In engineering, women have a higher starting salary of $65,000 compared to their male colleagues who have a starting salary of $63,500.
Many employers say that they are trying to encourage more women to enter and build a career as an engineer as women are generally more curious, intuitive and they have seen women to persevere more than males are in the workplace.
Why is workplace gender equality so important?
Workplace gender equality is crucial to build a harmonious and fair society. If women and men both were paid equally for the same job, our national productivity and economic growth will improve, we will experience an increase in organizational performance, companies will have the enhanced ability to attract talent and retain employees, and the organisation will have an improved reputation (Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2016).
In addition to the aforementioned advantages, companies and societies alike get the opportunity to use and leverage off the innate abilities and values women hold which many organisations such as the Business Council of Australia has seen improve an organisation’s bottom line and their creative output.