The economics of the gender pay gap
Shes Price(d)less is the fourth in a series of reports based on econometric modelling applied to data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to unpack the factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. For the first time, Shes Price(d)less has also used data from WGEAs workplace survey and data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), alongside HILDA data, to explore how the gender pay gap impacts five different industries.
The report found that:
- while the gender pay gap remained unchanged in real terms at $2.56 per hour in 2020 since last being reported in 2017, the pay gap had been trending down from 2017, though increased between 2019 and 2020
- gender discrimination remains the leading driver of the pay gap, contributing 36% of the $2.56 hourly pay gap
- other key pay gap drivers are caring for family and workforce participation (33%) and the type of job and industry sector of employment (24%)
- Women at the start of their career experience a pay gap of 6% but as they progress through their careers to top management levels the pay gap increases to a high of 18%.
Greater action by industry, the community, and governments to address the systemic drivers of the gender pay gap is both a collective obligation and an investment in our future economic prosperity.
The report’s analysis shows that closing the primary drivers of the gender pay gap is equivalent to $966 million per week, or almost $51.8 billion per year.
DCA CEO Lisa Annese said:
While the gender pay gap and the forces driving it are not new, we hope this data will help make a case for why Australia’s industries, governments and communities must work together to tackle the systemic drivers of pay inequity.
Each of these drivers requires targeted strategies, policies and initiatives to close the gap, in addition to specific responses from businesses, employers and industry bodies to create meaningful change.
To act with purpose in addressing the gender pay gap now would not only invest in our nations future economic prosperity but also help overcome the tough economic conditions we face.
Action now is particularly important for low paying industries where women comprise the workforce majority, such as healthcare and education, which we rely on in our daily lives.
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KPMG, Shes Price(d)less: The Economics of the Gender Pay Gap, Prepared with Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), Sydney, KPMG, 2022.