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Gender pay gap hits all-time low

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The latest official figures show the gender pay gap in full-time earnings has fallen to an all-time low. Why has the gap closed?
Gender pay gap at all-time low

The gender pay gap between the full-time earnings of men and women in Australia is at an all-time low.

As of May 2023, the gap is 13%, according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The gap has closed by a third since 2015.

How is the gender pay gap calculated?

Australia has two ‘official’ measures of the pay gap between men and women.

Both compare the full-time pay of men and women, regardless of the industry they work in.

The main difference is that one includes bonuses and other non-salary benefits, and one does not. This week’s update is for the gap without bonuses. It produces a smaller gap than the other measure, suggesting men get disproportionately high bonuses.

However, both are at record lows.

This gap has been calculated since early 2014, and the latest result is the lowest over that period.

Similar data going back to the 1990s suggests the gap has never been as small as it is now.

Could the gender pay gap keep falling?

It is likely the gap will be lower again when the figures are next updated in six months.

That’s because the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently awarded a 15% pay increase to government-funded residential aged care workers, which took effect last month. 86% of residential aged care workers are women.

The Federal Government also recently changed industrial relations laws to allow the FWC to explicitly consider gender inequality in its wage decisions, and to require disclosure of gender pay gaps within large companies.

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