The gender pay gaps of nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers which cover more than five million Australian workers has been published for the first time.

    Some of the country’s biggest employers have posted gender pay gaps of 30-40 per cent in favour of male employees.

    At airline Jetstar, the median gender pay gap is 53.5 per cent, meaning that for every $1 a male worker makes at the company, women earn, on average, 46.5 cents. At Virgin the gap is 41.7 per cent, Qantas 39.3 per cent, AGL 30.3 per cent, the Commonwealth Bank 29.8 per cent, Westpac 27 per cent, insurer IAG 27.5 per cent and Suncorp 20.5 per cent.

    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has published the base salary and total remuneration median gender pay gaps for private sector employers in Australia with 100 or more employees.

    It has published a data tool which can be searched. Access the WGEA Data Explorer tool here.

    The WGEA results show:

    • 30 per cent of employers have a median gender pay gap between the target range of -5 per cent and +5 per cent.
    • 62 per cent of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5 per cent and in favour of men.
    • The rest (8 per cent) are less than -5 per cent and in favour of women.
    • Across all employers, 50 per cent have a gender pay gap of over 9.1 per cent.

    “It is encouraging to see that gender pay gaps for almost one-third of employers are close to gender parity within their workforce,” WGEA CEO Mary Wooldridge said.

    “All employers should be aiming for a gender pay gap within +/-5 per cent. This range allows for normal business fluctuations and employee movements, while signifying that an employer has a focus on identifying and addressing inequalities and is taking action to ensure there is gender equality throughout an organisation.”

    There is significant variation in the gender pay gap across different industries, ranging from the construction industry, where the mid-point employer gender pay gap is 31.8 per cent, to the accommodation and food services industry, with a mid-point employer gender pay gap of 1.9 per cent.

    “The time for talk and excuses is over. Change takes action and employers need to double down on ensuring all employees are fairly represented and equally valued and rewarded in their workplace,” Ms Wooldridge said.

    On the positive side, at brewer Lion, maker of XXXX, Tooheys and Four Pillars gin, the median base pay gender gap is just 1.4 per cent, Woolworths 5.7 per cent, Coles: 6 per cent, Aldi 5.3 per cent, Myer 2.8 per cent and retailer JB HiFi 1.9 per cent.

    Publication of the data follows the passage through Parliament in March last year of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023. The package of reforms implements the government’s election promise and response to the 2021 review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Review).

    Under the legislation, companies must submit their internal data to WGEA annually, with the submission signed off by a chief executive or person at a similar level. At the same time, companies are invited to provide an "employer statement" to give context to their results. See WGEA’s Gender Pay Gap Employer Statement Guide for more information.

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