Data Launch

This year marks 50 years since the landmark 1969 equal pay decision that first saw Australian women win the right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work, or work of equal or comparable value. 

The availability of employer-funded paid parental leave has reached its highest level in the six-year dataset. This might be a cause for celebration if not for the fact that one in two workplaces provide no access to paid parental leave to their employees.

Australia’s workforce remains highly gender segregated

Across the workforce, women and men are concentrated in different industries. Of 19 industries, just eight have at least 40% women and men. Women are concentrated in Health Care and Social Assistance and Education and Training and are least represented in Construction and Mining.

Mining, Transport, Postal and Warehousing, Public Administration and Safety, and Administrative and Support Services are the only four industries where women are not under-represented in management compared to representation across the industry. All other industries, even female-dominated ones, have a lower proportion of women in management compared to women in the workforce. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (17.2pp), Financial and Insurance Services (13.7pp), Arts and Recreation Services (13.8pp) and Wholesale Trade (11.6pp) have the biggest gap between representation of women in the workforce and representation of women in management.

2019 Scorecard table 7 - proportion of female employees and management by industry

Where do women and men work?

Women’s workforce participation is concentrated in a few large industries. Health Care and Social Assistance is by far the largest employer of women, followed by Education and Training and Retail Trade.

Men are more evenly spread across the workforce than women, although they have low representation in the highly-feminised
industry of Health Care and Social Assistance.

2019 Scorecard table 8 - gender composition by industry

Workforce composition by gender dominance

Over half of Australian employees work in industries that are dominated by one gender. An organisation or industry is classified as gender mixed if it has at least 40% representation of both women and men.

2019 Scorecard chart 15 - industry segregation

Increases in women managers across most industries

Women’s management representation has increased in most industries, with only three sectors recording lower proportions of female managers this year (Health Care and Social Assistance, Administrative and Support Services and Accommodation and Food Services).

The biggest industry increases in female representation among managers were in Transport, Postal and Warehousing (up 1.8pp to 27.7%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (up 1.1pp to 35.2%), Manufacturing (up 1.1pp to 24.6%), and Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services (up 1.0pp to 34.8%).

2019 Scorecard table 6 - women in management by industry

Non-manager roles segregated by occupation

Women comprise 51.5% of all non-manager roles and are concentrated in traditionally female occupations including Community and personal service and Clerical and administration.

2019 Scorecard chart 14 - women in non-management occupations

The growth in the number of women appointed to boards and governing bodies remains slow.

  • The proportion of female directors in 2018-19 was 26.8% (up 1.0pp from 2017-18).
  • The proportion of female chairs in 2018-19 remained at 14.1% (up 0.4pp from 2017-18).
  • 34.0% of boards and governing bodies have no female directors. By contrast, only 0.9% had no male directors.
2019 Scorecard chart 13 - composition of boards

The most senior roles are heavily male-dominated

The representation of women declines with seniority. However, the representation of women across all manager categories has grown consistently since 2013-14.

2019 Scorecard chart 12 - leadership levels

Improved access to paid parental leave*

Although the provision of employer-funded paid parental leave reached a six-year high, over 50% of employers still provide NO access to employer-funded paid parental leave.  Access to paid parental leave is highly dependent on the size and industry of the employer.

  • In 2018-19, the number of employers offering paid parental leave for primary carers increased by 1.6pp to 49.4%.
  • 43.8% of employers offered paid parental leave for secondary carers – an increase of 2.0pp.
  • Women account for 93.5% (down 1.4pp from 2017-18) of all primary carer’s leave utilised with men accounting for only 6.5% (up 1.4pp).
  • Overall, women account for 71.5% (down 0.7pp) of all parental leave while men comprise the remaining 28.5% (up 0.7pp).

Primary carer’s leave is most commonly available in large organisations: 74.5% of organisations with 5000+ employees offer it, compared with 43.8% of organisations with fewer than 250 employees.

2019 Scorecard table 4 - parental leave by org size

Length of paid primary carer’s leave

Of those employers offering paid primary carer’s leave, 7-12 weeks is the most common length of leave period (19.9%). Only 4.0% of employers offer 18 or more weeks of paid primary carer’s leave.

2019 Scorecard chart 11 - weeks of parental leave offered

Improved results on support for caring

There is solid growth in organisations reporting they have a formal policy or strategy to support employees with family and caring responsibilities (up 2.2pp to 66.5%). The proportion of employers offering non-leave based measures to support employees with caring responsibilities also increased (up 1.5pp to 55.2%).

  • Of those employers that provide support, the most common non-leave based measures are breastfeeding facilities (69.4%) and referral services to support employees with family and/or caring responsibilities (52.4%).
  • Just 10.8% of these employers offer on-site childcare, 7.5% offer employer-subsidised childcare and 7.3% offer return to work bonuses on return from parental leave.

Parental Leave by Industry

Increased access to paid parental leave in most industries

  • Paid primary carer’s leave is most commonly offered in Education and Training (79.2%) and Financial and Insurance Services (76.4%).
  • Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services remains in the top three (75.5%) despite a 3.2pp drop since 2016-17.
  • Paid primary carer’s leave is least frequent in Retail Trade (21.3%) and Accommodation and Food Services (20.6%).
2019 Scorecard table 5 - parental leave by industry

 

More organisations promote flexible working

The 2018-19 data shows a 2.0pp increase in the number of organisations reporting they have a formal flexibility policy and/or strategy in place.

2019 Scorecard chart 9 - orgs with a flexible work policy/strategy
  • Financial and Insurance Services has the highest proportion of organisations with a formal policy and/or strategy on flexible working arrangements (up 4.7 pp to 90.6%).
  • Construction has the lowest proportion (down 0.4pp to 55.5%).
  • The strongest improvements were in Wholesale Trade (up 6.4pp to 74.8%), Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services (up 5.1pp to 77.1%) and Mining (up 5.1pp to 68.0%).
  • Just over one in four organisations with a flexible working strategy provide manager training on flexible work and only one in 20 set targets for employee engagement in flexible work.
2019 Scorecard chart 12 - flexible work strategies