Gender segregation in the workplace inquiry

Submissions
Topics Gender

Last year, in conjunction with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and KPMG, DCA released the report The Economics of the Gender Pay Gap which explored the factors underlying the gender pay gap.

One of the key findings of that report was that industrial and occupational segregation continue to be significant contributing factors to the gender pay gap.

This finding was echoed in WGEA’s 2015-2016 Gender Equality Scorecard which demonstrated that that 60 per cent of Australians work in an industry dominated by a single gender.

The scorecard reported that over 80 per cent of employees in the health care and social assistance sector are women, while 84 per cent of employees in the construction and mining industries are men.

And what’s more, graduates are overwhelmingly entering fields dominated by their own gender – almost 90 per cent of the graduates in health care and social assistance industry are women, while men continue to dominate construction (almost 80 per cent) and mining (almost two-thirds).

These male-dominated industries continue to attract higher rates of pay than female-dominated industries, and so this segregation has a major impact on women’s economic equality.

However, as the mining boom slows down, and the need for more employees in the health sector increases this segregation is also going to have an impact on Australia’s economic future.

If we are to close the gender pay gap we need to do more to address this issue.

Following the release of this work by DCA, WGEA and KPMG a Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee was established to look at gender segregation in the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality.  One of the Committee's terms of reference in calling for submissions was "remedies appropriate for Australia".  DCA subsequently put a call out to members to provide case studies showcasing their organisations' efforts in this area, particularly in relation to:

  • Measures taken to encourage women’s participation in male-dominated occupations and industries.
  • Measures taken to encourage men’s participation in female-dominated occupations and industries.
  • Any specific initiatives undertaken to attract and recruit women to particular industries or organisations.
  • Any action taken to address the issue of fewer male graduates or apprentices in a given field (e.g. working with universities or training institutes, targeted graduate programs, targeted apprenticeships).
  • Any action your organisation has taken to address the issue of fewer female graduates or apprentices in a given field (e.g. working with universities or training institutes, targeted graduate programs, targeted apprenticeships).
  • Any initiatives undertaken to improve pay and conditions in female-dominated occupations.
  • Any measures to deliver pay equity (e.g gender pay audits, superannuation top-ups etc). 

DCA's submission addressed why gender segregation matters and highlighted a range of measures being undertaken by DCA Members including targeted recruitment of women, pay gap analyses, the creation of pipelines between schools and universities to encourage young girls to take up subjects that will help them pursue careers in male-dominated industries, as well as flexible work policies to attract both men and women. 

We also attach to this submission a copy of the report She’s Price(d)less report to inform the Committee’s understanding of the factors underpinning the pay gap in Australia, and the economic imperative for action on gender segregation.

It was emphasised that leading Australian organisations are taking action to address some of the issues that contribute to gender segregation in their industries and we urged the Committee to consider some of these approaches in formulating their recommendations. 

DOWNLOAD a full copy of DCA's submission to the Inquiry into Gender segregation in the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality.