Addressing pay equity

Gender pay gap analysis

A critical step in taking action to address and improve pay equity in your organisation is to review the data, identify any instances of unequal pay and understand what is driving any gender pay gaps. The more detailed your analysis, the more you will be able to tailor a strategy and action plan to address your organisation’s specific issues.

This section provides information for organisations on to measure and address gender pay equity in their organisation. 

Image is decorative and depicts a male and female earning the same amount of money

Legislative framework

The Fair Work Act 2009 

Australian legislation protects people from being discriminated on the basis of sex.

The rules and obligations for employees and employers are outlined within the Fair Work Act (2009) which is the primary piece of legislation governing Australia’s workplaces. It is the foundation to all standards and regulations for employment and something that employers in all industries and within all business sizes should be familiar with.

Addressing the issue of gender pay inequity involves understanding where pay disparities may exist in your workplace.

Where pay disparities exist in a workplace, The Fair Work Commission can make an equal remuneration order requiring certain employees be provided equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value. An application for an equal remuneration order can be made by an affected employee, a union which is entitled to represent an affected employee, or the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

 For more information go to the Gender pay equity section on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.

Gender Pay Equity within Organisations

In every occupational category, there is a gender pay gap favouring full-time working men over full-time working women. Technicians and trades workers and community and personal service workers have some of the highest gender pay gaps. Clerical and administrative workers and machinery operators and drivers have some of the lowest gender pay gaps. Causes of occupational gender pay gaps include women and men working in different types of organisations, a lack of women in more senior or high-paid roles within occupational categories, and discrimination.

Achieving gender equality, including gender pay equity, is a process that takes time and conscious effort. Gender pay equity is about ensuring women and men performing the same role are paid the same amount, and women and men performing different work of equal or comparable value are paid equitably. This requires a valuing of skills, responsibilities and working conditions in a non-discriminatory way.

Unintended gender biases in hiring, promotion, performance and pay decisions can lead to incidences of pay inequity. Any unfairness or perceived unfairness can negatively impact workplace productivity, employee engagement and morale, access to talent, and retention. That’s why reviewing the results of a comprehensive gender pay equity audit and developing a pay equity action plan is a feature of best practice talent management, while also providing a valuable insight into your gender diversity performance.

 

Pay gaps that occur within organisations

The WGEA encourages organisations to analyse their own pay data in different ways to uncover different pay equity issues and take action at all levels of the organisation. The Agency has developed a variety of resources to help employers undertake a pay gap analysis and address gender pay gaps in their organisations.

Like-for-like gaps Pay gaps between women and men undertaking work of equal or comparable value (comparing jobs at the same performance standard), for example, comparing two senior engineers in the same organisation.
By-level gaps Pay gaps between women and men doing the same or comparable work (comparing responsibilities, typically the same level in the organisational hierarchy), for example, comparing individuals within groupings of levels such as Key Management Personnel, managers, professionals.
Organisation-wide (or department-wide) Gender pay gap which is the difference between the average remuneration of women and the average remuneration of men across the whole organisation (or department).

Gender-inclusive job evaluation

For an objective and fair assessment of jobs, gender bias must be considered during job evaluation. If gender bias is not considered, it is possible that key dimensions of jobs typically performed by women are at risk of being undervalued. This can contributed to the perpetuation of the gender pay gap (International Labour Office, 2008).

Standards Australia  have developed standards for Gender-Inclusive Job Evaluation

To support organisations in adopting the standards, the WGEA has worked with a committee of job evaluation and equity specialists to produce a guide to the Australian Standards on gender-inclusive job evaluation and grading.

Image is decorative and depicts the cover of the guide to the Australian standards for gender inclusive job evaluation

Guide to gender pay equity

The guide to pay equity (linked below) provides a step-by-step guidance to: 

  • facilitate an understanding of what is meant by gender pay gaps and the causes of gender pay gaps
  • help you identify and analyse any gender related pay gaps within your organisation, with a focus on like-for-like gender pay gaps
  • establish goals, strategies and actions to manage and  
  • improve gender pay equity in your organisation.
Image is decorative and depicts the cover of the guide to pay equity

    Case study: Viva Energy

    Image is a decorative banner which says Guide to Australian standards on gender-inclusive job evaluation

    For an objective and fair assessment of jobs, gender bias must be considered during job evaluation. If gender bias is not considered, it is possible that key dimensions of jobs typically performed by women are at risk of being undervalued. This can contributed to the perpetuation of the gender pay gap (International Labour Office, 2008).

    Standards Australia  have developed standards for Gender-Inclusive Job Evaluation. To support organisations in adopting the standards, the WGEA has worked with a committee of job evaluation and equity specialists to produce a guide to the Australian Standards on gender-inclusive job evaluation and grading.

    Image is decorative and depicts the cover of the guide to the Australian standards for gender inclusive job evaluation
    Image is a decorative banner which says Guide to gender pay equity

    The guide to pay equity (linked below) provides a step-by-step guidance to: 

    • facilitate an understanding of what is meant by gender pay gaps and the causes of gender pay gaps
    • help you identify and analyse any gender related pay gaps within your organisation, with a focus on like-for-like gender pay gaps
    • establish goals, strategies and actions to manage and  
    • improve gender pay equity in your organisation.

    Image is decorative and depicts the cover of the guide to pay equity