Women still lower at the top
Women at the top of the business and public sectors earn about $65,000 less than their male equivalents.
Tax Office stats show female politicians trail their male colleagues’ salaries by about $60,000.
Meanwhile, women in upper-tier public sector roles are short-changed by their gender to the tune of about $20,000.
On their 2013-2014 documents lodged with the ATO, about 154,000 Australians listed their position as chief executive officer, executive director, managing director, public service departmental secretary or deputy secretary.
Of these, nearly 112,000 were men, declaring average taxable incomes of nearly $182,000, compared to an average of $117,000 for females in the same role.
The gap was smaller, but still yawning, further down the pay scale.
ATO figures show that the 18,000 men who describe themselves as public policy managers, public servants at EL1 or EL2 levels, assistant secretaries and senior agency managers, earn an average of $75,500 a year.
Women with the exact same professional standings declared an average salary of $103,000.
If all incomes reported to the ATO are tallied together, the average taxable income for men lands at $75,500 and $48,900 for women.
This calculation does not include the necessary adjustment to allow for the greater proportion of women who work part time.
When that is factored in, the average wage gap figure sits at about 19 per cent.
“There are certain occupations where there are massive differences and that's in finance areas, the legal areas, and the medical areas, particularly with medical specialists, that's when the main pay gaps are,” Australian National University's Centre for Social Research and Methods principal research fellow Ben Phillips has told Fairfax reporters.
Mr Phillips said that more of the top jobs in the better-paid public service departments were filled by men.
“You've probably got a higher proportion of men in higher paid top secretary positions like the head of Treasury, the head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, those sort of organisations,” he said.
“We don't know if all those people are at the same level of seniority, so there could be a few things going on.
“It may well be that women will take five, six, seven or eight years out of the labour force and that will slow your career progression down.
“But I think it's fairly obvious that there's a reasonable gender pay gap and it seems to be persisting in Australia.
“There's a range of factors about why that is but some of it can come down to culture of workplace in Australia, some of them are very male-dominated workplaces here in Australia and that could be a reason why.”