The best-paying sectors for women have the worst gender pay gaps

The best-paying sectors for women have the worst gender pay gaps

On Equal Pay Day, we look at the best and worst industries for the gender pay gap and what you can do about it.
pay gap

On this Equal Pay Day, don’t think that just because you work in a higher paying sector for women that you’re better off when it comes to the gender pay gap.

Data crunched for the upcoming Financy Women’s Index June quarter report, shows that the four highest paying sectors for women, including Mining and Financial Services, all increased their gender pay gaps in May, as reported in August by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The following industries pay above $2,000 per week on average for full-time working women, yet have growing gender pay gaps:

  1. Mining with a 17.2% gender pay gap, up 2.3%
  2. Information Media and Telecommunications, with a 16.6% gender pay gap that’s up 0.6%
  3. Financial and Insurance Services with a 24.1% gender pay gap, also up 0.6%
  4. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services with a 25.3% gender pay gap, up 0.9% in May.

Meanwhile, the below industries pay much less and even below the weekly average for women. They also have the smallest gender pay gaps:

  1. Other Services, with a gender pay gap at 0.9%, which is up 2.8%.
  2. Public Administration and Safety with a 7.3% gender pay gap, up 1.1%
  3. Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services, with a 7.6% gender pay gap, down 2.3%.
  4. Accommodation and Food Services, with a 10.5% gender pay gap, down 0.9% in May.

On this Equal Pay Day, where women are working an additional 61 days to be paid the same as men, we are being encouraged by the government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to ask ourselves and our bosses #whatsyourpaygap.

It comes as Australian women are back to earning $261.50 less a week than men on average, taking us back to 2017.

The five-year setback in the average weekly full-time earnings of men and women has been affected by the volatile and gendered paid and unpaid work impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gender pay gap, which is calculated by looking at the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data on average weekly earnings between men and women, increased to 14.2% in May, from 13.4% in November 2020.

This is the biggest percentage gain since 2014, and in dollar terms, the financial gender gap, its the worst it’s been since 2016 when men earned $261.60 more than women.

According to the ABS, men earn $1,837 per week on average across all industries compared to $1,575 earned by women.

When it comes to the higher paying sectors for women, each is above $2,000 per week and we’ve listed them below so that you can see where you sit, not just on pay but on the gender pay gap and the direction it has been moving in.

IndustriesEarnings; Males; Full Time; Adult; Ordinary time earningsEarnings; Females; Full Time; Adult; Ordinary time earningsGender Pay Gap% Change Nov-May
Mining $2,749 $2,27717.2%2.3%
Manufacturing $1,609 $1,39413.3%0.7%
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services $1,941 $1,7937.6%-2.3%
Construction $1,734 $1,44516.6%0.2%
Wholesale Trade $1,707 $1,45215.0%1.9%
Retail Trade $1,376 $1,22810.8%2.1%
Accommodation and Food Services $1,253 $1,12110.5%-0.9%
Transport, Postal and Warehousing $1,754 $1,48815.2%1.4%
Information Media and Telecommunications $2,232 $1,86116.6%0.6%
Financial and Insurance Services $2,320 $1,76024.1%0.6%
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services $1,738 $1,40619.1%-0.7%
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services $2,255 $1,68425.3%0.9%
Administrative and Support Services $1,605 $1,36814.8%-0.3%
Public Administration and Safety $1,904 $1,7657.3%1.1%
Education and Training $2,003 $1,77411.4%-0.3%
Health Care and Social Assistance $1,978 $1,57020.7%-0.5%
Arts and Recreation Services $1,609 $1,43510.8%1.5%
Other Services $1,336 $1,3250.9%2.8%
All Industries $1,837 $1,57614.2%0.8%

Financy recently asked Dr Jill Gould from UniSA Online and UniSA Centre for Workplace Excellence and Professor Carol Kulik also from UniSA Centre for Workplace Excellence for their tips on what women can do to try and change and challenge the gender pay gap in their workplace and industry. Here’s what they said:

Get Digging on Gender Pay

What does the organisation’s executive group look like? What about the board? Is there female representation at these senior levels? We know that organisations with gender diversity on their boards have smaller pay gaps than male dominated boards. And having a woman on the compensation committee narrows the gap too.

Do some benchmarking

The gender pay gap varies across location, industry, sector age and occupation. You can check these variables in the WGEA site, or more broadly in the Financy Women’s Index quarterly reports, to see if you’re likely to have a gender pay gap in your organisation. If you have a good relationship with your HR manager, ask them if new graduates are paid equally. As mentioned previously, the gender pay gap begins at the first stages of the career ladder.

Talk to your HR department

Ask your HR manager if the organisation has conducted a pay audit. There is less than a 50% chance that your organisation has conducted a pay audit to identify any wage gaps. To get started, organisations can use a gender pay gap calculator provided on the WGEA website. The WGEA also provides a wide range of fact sheets and guides to help organisations address pay inequity.

Report your results to those who can effect change

Only 26.7% of organisations report results from pay gap analyses to senior management. Why not ask if senior management have been advised about pay audit analyses undertaken within the organisation? If you’re in a senior role yourself, ask for information on gender and pay.

We still have some way to go to remove this gap between women’s and men’s pay. But, as we’ve highlighted, there are actions that individuals can take to raise awareness of the issue of gender pay gaps and to provide resources for organisations (and HR departments in particular) to calculate whether a pay gap exists and what to do about it.

This article was first published on Financy. See the original here.

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