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Closing the Pay Gap Makes Sound Economic Sense

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Media Release 15 August 2014

SA Chiefs for Gender Equity - Wage Gap Concerns

South Australia’s Chiefs for Gender Equity (the Chiefs) have called for urgent action from government, business and other key stakeholders to close the widening wage gap.

The call follows the release of alarming new ABS results that show the National Wage Gap between male and female earnings has blown out to a staggering 18.2 per cent.

The Chiefs comprise a group of local business leaders who work closely with the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Anne Gale. Members are committed to addressing the gender wage gap and promoting discussion that will lead to meaningful changes.

The lack of women’s engagement in the workplace is a serious productivity issue. Female participation rates are below that of males by 12.3 per cent with research showing that there is a correlation between a negative impact on economies and low levels of female engagement. Equality does indeed mean business.

BankSA Chief Executive Nick Reade says the wage gap increase of 18.2 per cent means that Australian women are now currently earning just 81.8 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn, down from an average of 85.1 cents a decade ago.

Mr Reade said the data also shows that while male salaries have increased by 2.9 per cent over the past year, their female co-workers have only increased by 1.9 per cent.
“Equal pay is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing for our economy, for business and productivity.

For business it means ensuring effective policy and practices exist in the workplace to enable men and women to progress their careers at consistent rates,’’ he said.

“As senior businessmen we recognise we are in a position to change and influence this and have committed to undertaking analyses in our own businesses. Men continue to dominate the most senior positions and in certain industries, they earn the higher incomes. We must also understand other factors, such as inadequate part-time senior roles, out of hours work requirements, unconscious bias, and male dominated networks.’’

Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Anne Gale said that employers who address gender equity well will have women in senior roles, flexible work practices, parental leave to enable ‘sharing the caring’, carers leave accessed equally by men and women, and good payroll analyses to ensure wage gaps don’t exist.

These are just a few examples of good practice that work toward eliminating wage inequity and ensuring discrimination does not exist, she said.

Mr Reade said that without a concerted effort to implement initiatives, the wage gap for women will not close. This also means that superannuation entitlements for women will not grow at the same rate as men, meaning that women have less income support later in life.

The Chiefs encourage all business leaders and employers to address gender equity by understanding the wage gap in their own workforce and address the hidden factors that prevent women from reaching the most senior levels.


South Australia’s Chiefs for Gender Equity:
Dr David Cruickshanks-Boyd, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Christian Paech, Santos
Nigel McBride, Business SA
Nick Reade, BankSA
Con Tragakis, KPMG
Rob Stobbe, SAPower Networks
Scott Ashby, PIRSA
David Martin, Finlaysons
Ish Davies, News Corp SA
Michael Harper, Lend Lease


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Commissioner for Equal Opportunity - 0422 007 069
BankSA – Catherine Bauer, Hughes PR – 0420 529 027

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