Equality efforts on 'autopilot'
New data shows a decline in employer action on gender equality prior to the impact of COVID-19.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has issued a report showing that while the gender pay gap for total remuneration has dropped just 0.7 percentage points to 20.1 per cent, men still out-earn women on average by $25,534.
Other than the small improvement in the gender pay gap, access to flexible work has increased and over 50 per cent of employers now offer paid primary carer’s leave.
However, the most troubling finding was a substantial 6.1 per cent decline in the number of employers taking action on pay equity and women continue to dominate the more insecure part-time and casual roles.
WGEA Director Libby Lyons has expressed her disappointment at this year’s results.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was concerned that Australian employers had become complacent,” she said.
“The modest rate of change in last year’s results suggested they were in the grip of ‘gender equality fatigue’.
“I’m now very disappointed that almost nothing has changed this year.
“It appears to me that Australian employers are on autopilot when it comes to improving gender equality. The issue is clearly not receiving the necessary attention to drive further change.
“Without ongoing and increased employer action, we are likely to regress and will witness a decline in the many gains achieved over the last few years, such as the gradual reduction of the gender pay gap and more women in leadership roles,” Ms Lyons said.