Two reports about the situation of women in Australian workplaces have been released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, as well as by the University of Sydney’s Australian Women’s Working Futures Project.

Gender Equity Insights 2018: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap

The third report in the BCEC|WGEA Gender Equity Insights series extends and strengthens the evidence base around gender pay gaps and how these have changed over time across Australian workplaces.

The analysis uses unique data reported to the WGEA, capturing 4 million employees and over 11,000 employers in the 2016-17 reporting period. It builds on the first and second in the series, with updated calculations of gender pay gaps across occupations and industries.

The report highlights the nature and impact of workplace pay equity policies and actions in addressing these gaps. Encouragingly, more Australian employers than ever before are taking pay equity seriously.

In the four years of WGEA reporting, employers with a formal remuneration policy or strategy increased by 10 percentage points – from 48.9% in 2013-14 to 58.5% in 2016-17. Simultaneously, the proportion of employers undertaking a pay gap analysis increased from 24.0% to 37.7% in the same period.

Study findings demonstrate a strong and convincing relationship between pay gap audits within an organisation, and importantly, taking action on audit findings, in reducing gender pay gaps.

The authors also find that pay equity actions work better in combination than in isolation. An organisational commitment to correct like-for-like pay gaps is three times as effective in reducing overall gender pay gaps when the action is combined with a commitment to report pay outcomes to the Executive or company Board.

The report confirms that many Australian organisations are taking positive, discernable and significant steps towards pay equity. These results should motivate further action and change across other Australian workplaces.

(Source: BCEC|WGEA | Read the Report)

Women and the Future of Work

The report by the Australian Women’s Working Futures Project, from the Women, Work and Leadership Research Group at the University of Sydney, is the first of its kind to investigate the challenges faced by Australian women as they negotiate their working lives and plan for future employment.

The AWWF study surveys 2000 women aged 16-40, supplemented by focus groups with specific categories of women across key theme; a sample of 500 men is also included in the study. The aim of the study is to understand women’s experiences and expectations in employment, and it covers topics such as current and recent employment experience, training and future careers, experiences of gender equality at work and preparedness for the future of work.

Some key findings

In regards to working life, the study finds that women place the most value on having a secure job (80%) where they are treated with respect (80%). More than two in five women report being stressed at work, particularly an issue for young, lower-paid or casual workers. Skills and qualifications are recognised by most working women as important for professional success (93%), but only three quarters feel that their current role allows them to use their skills, knowledge and abilities.

While security is the goal for most women, less than three in five (59%) reported job security in their current employment, and over a quarter are concerned that their job could be lost to automation or due to a shrinking industry—still, these were greater concerns for men than for women. Sources of financial stress for the working women include the challenges of buying a property, making sufficient contributions to their superannuation and establishing themselves to be able to afford children. Four in ten working women in the study have at least one child, and half expect to have one in the future. Considerations about work-life balance are significant, and nine in ten women said workplace flexibility was an important aspect of their job.

On the matter of equality, less than a third of women surveyed (31%) thought men and women were treated equally in the workplace, while 50% of men thought this to be the case; both women and men consider that gender equality in the workforce will improve in the next decade (53%). Discrimination on the basis of cultural background was more pronounced than gender-based discrimination, and only 28% of working women agreed that all Australians were treated equally in the workplace. Similar to gender equality views for the future, however, 43% believe that this situation will improve over the next ten years.

(Source: WW&LRG | Read the Report)

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