International Women’s Day 2019: key facts about women and work

Friday 8 March 2019 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme, Balance for Better, is an opportunity to reflect on the areas where balance can better our communities, workplaces and personal lives. Here are some key facts about balance for women and work in Australia.

1. Balance the accounts: the gender pay gap starts from graduation

  • The national gender pay gap is 14.1%
  • The total remuneration gender pay gap is 21.3%, meaning men working full-time earn nearly $25,717 a year more than women working full-time
  • There is a gender pay gap favouring men in every single industry, manager category and occupation, regardless of whether they are male or female-dominated
  • As soon as they graduate women earn less than men in 17 out of 19 fields of study and across nine out of 13 industries
  • Financial and Insurance Services is still the industry with the highest pay gap at 30.3% and the Public Administration and Safety have the lowest pay gap at 4.9%
  • The highest paid men men earn at least $160K more than the highest paid women annually

Employers are continuing to act on pay equity: 141 leading Australian employers were announced as the 2019 Employers of Choice for Gender Equality, 41.6% of employers analysing their pay data and almost 75% of employers have an overall gender equality strategy or policy.

  • Women retire, on average, with roughly 40% less superannuation than men
  • A higher incidence of part-time work, combined with the gender pay gap and extended periods out of the workforce leads to this shortfall

A number of Australian organisations have recognised this issue and are addressing it by offering employees on unpaid parental leave superannuation payments.

2. The balance of power: women are missing from senior leadership and the board table

  • 17.1% of CEOs or heads of business are women and at the current rate of process, we won’t see parity at this level until the year 2100
  • 30.5% of key management personnel positions are held by women
  • 35.2% of boards have no female directors
  • 43.4% of manager appointments in 2017-18 went to women, with representation of women in management increasing across most industries

The Agency recently released our latest Gender Equity Insights report, in collaboration with the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which explores what employer actions increase women’s participation at all levels within an organisation.

3. Tipping the balance: Australia’s workforce is highly segregated

  • Women and men in Australia’s workforce are concentrated in different industries
  • Six out of ten Australians still work in industries dominated by one gender
  • Only eight out of 19 industries have at least 40% women and men.
  • Men and women also continue to work in different occupations, despite some movement
  • The strongest movement of women into male-dominated roles in the past five years has been female labourers at 32.5%

Many industries are developing policies and strategies to encourage women and men to enter non-traditional roles. The Agency developed a series called women’s work | men’s work, which focuses on a number of employees fighting stereotypes about the types of work women and men ‘should’ be doing.

4. The balancing act: flexible working and parental leave allows women and men to share the care

  • 60% of women work part-time or casually
  • 32.5% of men work part-time or casually
  • Only 6.4% of all managers are employed part-time
  • For every hour of unpaid domestic work a man does, a woman performs an hour and 46 minutes
  • 72.2% of paid parental leave is utilised by women while men comprise the remaining 27.8%
  • 47.8% of employers offer paid parental leave for primary carers and 41.8% offer paid leave for secondary carers
  • 94.9% of primary carer’s leave is utilised by women

Parental leave policies have also traditionally focused on the mothers, however leading Australian employers are slowly moving away from traditional maternity leave policies and instead focusing on gender neutral ‘parental leave’ for the primary carer.