• Alan Duncan
    Alan Duncan

A new report analysing the gender equality strategies of Australian businesses has identified the most valuable actions employers can take to reduce their gender pay gaps.

The eighth report in the Gender Equity Insights series from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) was released earlier this month.

It looks at the gender equality strategies at nearly 4,800 Australian employers to determine what factors are accelerating change and closing gender pay gaps.

Using data reported to WGEA in 2019 and 2022, the report indicates employers that have taken deliberate, long-term action in their workplaces get results.

However, the analysis also exposes a deep divide within industry sectors between the best performing businesses – those that are making progress to close their gender pay gaps – and the worst performers.

Mining, manufacturing and retail trade as well as the professional, scientific and technical services sector are among the industry sectors where this difference is most pronounced.

Report author and director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) Alan Duncan said the report used a new ‘maturity framework’ to help organisations identify, measure and implement practical policies and actions that can drive improved workplace gender equality outcomes.

“Focusing on industry-wide changes to gender pay equality and women’s workforce representation can hide some significant differences in progress between businesses,” Duncan said.

“For example, the most advanced businesses in the mining sector are seven times more likely to set targets to reduce gender pay gaps and four times more likely to report pay equity metrics to senior executives compared to businesses that are early on in their journey towards workplace gender equity.

“While progress is being made, the reality is that closing the gender pay gap is still many years off for a large share of Australian businesses.”

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian government statutory agency.