The gender pay gap is 13 per cent in Australia, and when you break that down it leaves an extra 56 days of work required for women to earn the same amount as men, according to new modelling by Aware Super.
While that varies from industry to industry, it means that from about 3.57pm today, the average 9-5 working woman was effectively going without pay.
In the health sector, that gap widens to 21 per cent, and the metaphorical clock winds back to 3.19pm.
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In finance, a 19 per cent industry pay gap means women are essentially working without pay from 3.27pm each day.
The gap closes marginally to nine per cent in the education sector, where female staff work without pay from 4.16pm.
The findings come from the new Hold the Door report published on Friday, which dissects problem areas to expose what Aware Super CEO called: “An insidious, unconscious bias in the way we build and maintain our education and employment systems and culturally the roles men and women play in society.”
The report, which based the above figures on ABS numbers and the average 40-hour working week, also found women were left with $93,000 less in their superannuation balances when compared to men at retirement age in Australia.
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The report starts at the very root of the problem, noting that even as young children, we are “forming gendered perceptions of ‘appropriate’ career paths.”
It advised that targets should be implemented in schools for “minimum gendered numbers” to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and that female leadership programs should also become a focus.
It also uncovered barriers that limit women from pursuing certain industries, such as the police force, noting the unpaid time required of the industry’s applicants.
“Within the NSW Police Force recruitment process is the Associate Degree with its compulsory component to live on campus and study full time for 16 weeks at the Goulburn Police Academy,” the report said.
“In December 2022, 116 new recruits who attended the course were male, while only 35 were female. In April 2023, 158 men attended the course, compared to 63 women. In June 2023, 72 males studied at Goulburn Police Academy while only 25 females did the same.”
But should women choose to enter these industries despite the existing barriers, statistics give a grim example of the glass ceiling.
Despite significant improvement, the NSW Police Force between 2019 and 2020, promoted 222 females to the rank of Sergeant, and 681 males, the report noted.
New pay gap modelling has found that Aussie women would need to work an extra 56 days each year to earn the same as men. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
In the hospital system, globally, only four per cent of CEO roles, and 20 per cent of leadership roles are held by women.
That figure improves in Australia, but it’s far from enough.
In health services and social services in Victoria, less than 20 per cent of people sitting at board tables are women, the report said.
That’s a fraction of the table representing the 51 per cent of the industry’s female patients and clients and 70 per cent of its female staff. And should a child or parent get sick, the report found that caring duties still fall primarily on women.
“This makes a material difference to lifetime income and retirement savings,” the report said.
Childbirth, parental leave, and missed opportunities are all negatively skewed toward women in the report, and Stewart noted: “Persistent gaps based on gender aren’t about a silent conspiracy to underpay women.”
“The persistent gender pay gap – and the subsequent gap at retirement, is as much about how we educate our young people, how we help teenagers plan for their future careers, and how we support employees with caring responsibilities, as it is about rates of pay.”