A look back at the year behind us

This year has been a year like no other, in our homes and in our workplaces. Australia saw a predominantly female healthcare workforce on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in caring responsibilities for many parents, significant disruption across the workforce and a spotlight on working from home and flexible working arrangements. Here at the Agency we have had a very busy year and we thought we would take a look at some of the major events for us in 2020.  

Gender Equity Insights report 

The agency partnered with Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) to release the 2020 Gender Equity Insights report. Since 2016, BCEC has produced an annual report analysing the Agency’s dataset to explore trends and identify policies and practices that work to address gender inequality in the workplace. 

The data collected over 6 years has revealed critical actions organisations can take to address pay equity, achieve a more gender balanced workforce and ultimately, benefit the bottom line. 

This year the series delivered a clear message: 

More women in key decision-making positions delivers better company performance, greater productivity and greater profitability. 

The research analysed changes in the gender composition of leadership structures within a company and linked these to company performance. It demonstrated that increasing the representation of women across each of the key leadership roles in a company added company market value of between $52m and $70m per year for an average sized organisation. These findings showed a causal link between the improved gender balance of leadership teams and improved company performance.  

Equal Pay Day 

The national gender pay gap remained stable at 14%. This year, Equal Pay Day was on 28 August 2020, marking the 59 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work, on average, to earn the same amount as men earned that year. 

Using the latest Average Weekly Earnings trend series data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has calculated the national gender pay gap as 14% for full-time employees, a difference of $253.60 per week. 

The national theme for Equal Pay Day 2020 was ‘Keep Minding the Gap’ - a message that during this global pandemic, it is important that employers continue to focus on gender equality in their organisations. looking to find ways to close the pay gap in your organisation? Our Gender strategy toolkit is a great place to start. 

Data Launch 

This year’s Gender Equality Scorecard showed a worrying decline in employer action on gender equality prior to the impact of COVID-19. Whilst the gender pay gap for total remuneration dropped just 0.7 percentage points (pp) to 20.1%, men still out-earned women on average by $25,534. 

Other than the small improvement in the gender pay gap, access to flexible work increased and over 50% of employers now offer paid primary carer’s leave. The most troubling finding was a substantial 6.1pp decline in the number of employers taking action on pay equity and women continued to dominate the more insecure part-time and casual roles. 

As the end of 2020 draws near, it is important to look back at the year behind us but it is also time to look forward to the next year ahead. Australia is learning to live in the new normal, COVID19 vaccines are beginning to roll out across the world and we are building towards recovery. Now is the time to push for gender equality in Australian workplaces. Employers must keep their foot on the pedal next year to ensure all the progress of recent years is not lost. Not sure how to conduct a pay gap analysis? Click here for the gender equality diagnostic tool.