Gender pay gap improvement in Australia has stalled for two decades, new KPMG report says

October 28, 20167:05 am468 views

The pay gap between Australian men and women has not changed in 20 years, a new report released by KPMG says.

Discrimination against women has been blamed for the 16.2 per cent gap in wages, and the report claims it is increasing.

It took into account the main factors that contribute to the gap, including skills, experience, education level and tenure. All these factors are decreasing in their influence on the gender pay gap.

The report found systemic discrimination played the largest role in contributing to the inequality.

Key findings

  • Sex discrimination is the largest contributor to the pay gap, increasing from 35 per cent in 2009 to 38 per cent in 2016
  • Part-time employment’s contribution to the gap has decreased from 14 per cent in 2009 to four per cent in 2016
  • The influence of ‘traditional roles’ accounts for almost one third of the gap
  • The proportion of the gap attributable to years out of the workforce has increased from 9 per cent to 21 per cent

The report author, Tamara Price, said efforts to create an equal workplace must be redoubled.

“What we’re talking about here is much more sinister … It’s the unconscious biases and the systemic market issues — that women are almost trained from birth, shall we say, to fall into those traditional caring roles,” she said.

“Then you wind up in industries that are systemically paid less than the industries that have men in them.”

Susan Ferrier is a partner at KPMG and said while it was not being reflected in the numbers, she had noticed a change in attitude towards the issue of pay equality.

“I’ve seen a real shift in the global conversations, but bringing it closer to home, a real shift in the conversation in Australia — particularly at the senior executive level where it’s seen as a critical business issue as opposed to an issue that’s being managed off to the side somewhere deep in the organisation,” she said.

The authors said the report was pulled together so organisations could understand the factors behind the gap.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said the gender pay gap was a major barrier to women’s economic security over the course of their lifetimes.

“I am particularly disturbed by the finding that sex discrimination remains a persistent feature of the workforce, and one component that is actually increasing,” she said.

“Women, families and our economies pay the price in the long term for these underlying social attitudes towards women.”


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