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Health and aged care pay gap increases again

Source: Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2017-18 Data Snapshot

The gender pay gap in favour of men has widened for the second year for the female-dominated aged care, health and social services industry, data released from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency this week shows.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2017-18 Data Snapshot shows that all industries continue to have a gender pay gap in favour of men, who earn 21.3 per cent more than women on average.

The five-year trend data shows the pay gap has declined every year for the last five years with this year seeing the biggest single-year drop (down 1.1 percentage points) in the average full-time total remuneration gender pay gap.

Bucking the trend however is the health care and social assistance workforce, which is 80 per cent women and the country’s most female dominated industry.

The health care and social assistance dataset includes 655,949 employees within 648 organisations.

Overall, its gender pay gap increased to 16.1 per cent, up 0.4 percentage points from last year and 1.4 percentage points from 14.7 per cent in 2015-16.

The difference in average total remuneration between men and women working in the health and social services sector is $16,427.

Looking at the subset of residential aged care employees, 83 per cent of whom are women, the pay gap is less but the trend of a second annual increase is similar.

The aged care residential services dataset includes 199,367 employees within 178 organisations and shows the gap in average full-time remuneration has increased 1.6 percentage points from 5.3 per cent in 2015-16 to 7 per cent this year.

Senior roles

The data shows a steady increase in the number of women in management roles in most industries however, the representation of women still declines with seniority.

The health care and social assistance sector has the strongest representation of women in management at 70.2 per cent. This figure has remained relatively stable for the last four years, and is up from 69.3 per cent in 2013-14.

The representation of women in residential aged care management roles however has reached a five-year low of 70 per cent, and experienced a steady decline from 71.5 per cent since 2014-15.

Positive strategies

The report shows strong growth in employer action in areas such as overall gender equality policies and strategies, pay equity and flexible work.

There was an increase in the number of employers who have a formal policy or strategy to support employees experiencing family or domestic violence, with those in health and social services broadly (59.4 per cent) and residential aged care (57.3 per cent) among those leading the way compared to all industries (46.9 per cent).

WGEA director Libby Lyons launched the data at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

She said the dataset shows that employer action has delivered real outcomes but that women still face considerable barriers in Australia’s workplaces.

“The first five years of data shows where we are seeing positive change and where we need to make more effort. We now need even more employers to take action so that we can accelerate the momentum for gender equality in Australian workplaces,” said Ms Lyons.

Access the scorecard from WGEA’s website here.

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2 Responses to Health and aged care pay gap increases again

  1. Manager November 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm #

    The reason for the wage gap is because men are willing to take on more senior roles than woman are. They can do this because they are actively seeking these roles for a lot longer than women do! Women leave the workforce to have children or they continue on to follow a career.

  2. Wendy November 20, 2018 at 8:12 am #

    This is a load of codswollap! Show me how women are not prepared to take on senior roles. Tell me that single mothers would not like to increase their take-home pay. I think that this inequality generates an atmosphere that leads to Nurses leaving the industry because it is so archaic!

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