Australia's Gender Pay Gap Statistics 2021

Overview

Using the latest data from the WGEA dataset and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), this fact sheet details the gender pay gap by states and territories, industries, occupations, sectors and age.

About the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce. 

The gender pay gap is the result of the social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime.

Calculating the Gender Pay Gap

Australian gender pay gaps are calculated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA, the Agency). The GPG is derived as the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.

 

Image depicts the formula for calculating the gender pay gap

 

Australian gender pay gaps are calculated by WGEA using ABS Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings Seasonal series from the Australian Weekly Earnings (AWE) survey. The survey estimates the full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (seasonal) before tax, excluding factors such as overtime, pay that is salary sacrificed and junior and part-time employees.
The GPG is derived as the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.

 

Changes to the data in 2020

Traditionally, the data used by WGEA for calculating the national gender pay gap is the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Full-Time Adult Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings Trend series from the Australian Weekly Earnings survey.*

However, given the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market and that it is currently not known whether this impact will be short, medium or long-term, the ABS have suspended the use of trend data.**

Instead, seasonally adjusted data has been used to calculate average weekly earnings during the COVID-19 period. This means the Agency will not compare this year’s gender pay gap statistics to previous years. Given the extent of change in the labour market and the impact of COVID-19 is ongoing, it will be important to continue monitoring the data to further understand the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s workforce. 

*ABS (2020), Average Weekly Earnings, November 2019, cat. no. 6302.0, viewed 20 February 2020, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6302.0
**ABS (2020) Methods changes during the COVID-19 period, June 2020, cat. no. 1359.0, viewed August 2020, https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/methods-changes-during-covid-19-period

The national gender pay gap

The national gender pay gap is calculated by WGEA using data from the ABS.


Currently, Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13.4%.


At November 2020, women’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings across all industries and occupations was $1,562.00 compared to men’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings of $1,804.20.

The national gender pay gap over time

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market and that it is currently not known whether this impact will be short, medium or long-term, the ABS has suspended the use of trend data. WGEA has used seasonally adjusted data to calculate average weekly earnings during the COVID-19 period.

Australia’s national gender pay gap has hovered between 13.4% and 19% for the past two decades.i There has been a decrease of 0.58 percentage points in the gender pay gap since November 2019 (14.0%).ii
Between 1999 and 2020 the gender pay gap was:

  • lowest in November 2020, at 13.4%
  • highest in November 2014, at 18.5%.

 

Figure 1: The Australian national gender pay gap, Nov 1999 - Nov 2019**

This image depicts the GPG over time which peaked in November 2014 at 18.5% and was lowest in November 2020 at 13.4%

Data: ABS (2021), Average Weekly Earnings, November 2020, cat. no. 6302.0, viewed 25 February 2021,
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-work-hours/average-weekly-earnings-australia/latest-release#data-download

Note: Between November 2000 and November 2019 the national gender pay gap calculations were based on trend data. Due to Covid-19, seasonal data has been used in Figure 1 for all figures after November 2019.

 

* Unless otherwise stated, all measures of the gender pay gap are expressed as a percentage (%) based on average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time employees (trend data), with changes over time provided as the percentage point (pp) difference.

**The difference between the November 2018 and November 2019 gender pay gap figures of 0.27 p.p. is rounded to 0.3 p.p.

** The release frequency changed from quarterly to bi-annual between May and November 2012. May 2012 represents the start of the new bi-annual series.

The WGEA data gender pay gap

WGEA collects pay data annually from non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees, covering more than 4 million employees in Australia. This data includes superannuation, bonuses and other additional payments.


The full-time total remuneration gender pay gap based on WGEA data is 20.1%, meaning men working full-time earn nearly $25,534 a year more than women working full-time.

 

Figure 2: Full-time base salary and total remuneration, 2015-16 to 2019-20

This image depicts the base salary and total remuneration GPGs over time, dipping to 20.1% total remuneration and 15% base salary in 2020

Source: WGEA (2020), Australia’s gender equality scorecard, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2019-20%20Gender%20Equality%20Scorecard_FINAL.pdf

 

Note: Based on total remuneration of full-time employees, which includes full-time base salary plus any additional benefits payable directly or indirectly, whether in cash or in a form other than cash. Includes: bonus payments (including performance pay), superannuation, discretionary pay, overtime, other allowances and other benefits (for example share allocations).