Publishing the gender pay gap should be about more than exposure

KPMG will be one of thousands of employers whose gender pay gap is published in 2024. But unlike most of those companies, KPMG’s data won’t be a surprise to anyone, least of all its management.

KPMG calculates and publishes its gender pay gap each year in the firm’s annual ‘Impact Report.’

KPMG’s 2023 Our Impact Plan shows an average employee pay gap* of 9.9% and a pay gap between partners of 11.58%, down from 13.7% and 16.6% when it first began publishing gender pay gaps in 2021.

Andrew Yates, CEO and Dorothy Hisgrove, National Managing Partner – People & Inclusion

Image: KPMG CEO Andrew Yates, and Dorothy Hisgrove, National Managing Partner – People & Inclusion

Why did KPMG go public?

KPMG’s decision to publish the company gender pay gap wasn’t made in isolation. It was part of a broader gender equality strategy that is a key pillar in the firm’s business plan.

“The disparity in earnings between men and women in the workplace affects women’s economic empowerment, career progression, and socio-economic wellbeing,” KPMG says.

“By addressing the pay gap, we work towards creating a just and inclusive society, leading to economic growth and greater innovation. 

“The benefit is clear: having more women in key decision-making positions delivers better company performance, greater productivity, and profitability.”

The firm used its gender pay gap data to track and measure progress towards this goal.

“Publishing the gender pay gap was an important step in holding ourselves as employers to account through transparency of reporting.”

Not just a one-off

Rather than publishing data once a year, KPMG has a dashboard which provides up-to-date gender pay gap data for all divisions and grade levels across the firm.

“This helps us to track and monitor our impact on an ongoing basis and enables better decision-making regarding salaries for new hires and promotions over the course of the year to support reducing the gap.”

“We also have a bias disrupter, with a lens on gender, during our annual remuneration review and by being transparent around pay, we aim to benefit our ongoing commitment to closing the gender pay gap.”

“It also shows leadership is accountable and committed to action.”

Articles published regularly to the staff intranet keep employees informed on the firm’s actions and progress to close the gender pay gap. KPMG also sets and communicates gender diversity targets and action plans annually and tracks progress regularly to keep the spotlight on gender equity and overall leadership accountability.

KPMG Australia CEO Andrew Yates

“Gender Equity at KPMG is inclusive of women, men and those that identify outside of the binary such as non-binary, agender, and genderfluid people. We believe in creating more equitable workplaces for all and taking a stand to address systemic barriers and biases when it comes to gender.”

Understanding the data is the key

KPMG went through a robust data collation, analysis and consultation process before the gender pay gap data was shared with its senior leaders.

Analysts worked closely with key stakeholders and management to ensure they understood the numbers and why these are so important in the context of the gender equity plan.

“That is: explaining why we are tracking it and the gender equity strategy we would be putting in place.”

“This also provides leaders with a clear picture of what will be shared publicly so if they are asked about it, they can speak confidently to it.”

A key learning from this process was the need to shift the focus from ‘gender equality’ to ‘gender equity’.

KPMG says: “Equality means everyone is treated the same exact way regardless of need or individual difference. It doesn’t always recognise that people have different circumstances that need to be considered.  The practice of equity, on the other hand, is more intentional, with resources and opportunities pointed to more diverse and individual needs – appreciating that we’re not all the same – to reach a more equal outcome.”

*Any variance in pay gap data between KPMG's Impact Plan and WGEA reporting is attributed to differing reporting timeframes.

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