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Workplace Gender Equality Agency says women earned $25K a year less on average than men in 2018/19.

‘Disappointing’: Women still earning less

Australia’s gender equality watchdog has dubbed the latest annual pay gap score card as ‘disappointing’ with only small changes.

New pay data for the private sector has been dubbed “disappointing” by the director of Australia’s gender equality watchdog.

Men in the private sector were still taking home more per year than women workmates, according to the figures from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

In the latest annual scorecard released on Tuesday, it says on average male full-time workers took home 20.8 per cent, or $25,000, more than women in 2018-19.

The figures are based off data provided to the agency by non-public sector employers with over 100 staff and takes into account super, bonuses and other allowances.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data in August put the national pay gap – for public and private sectors – at 14 per cent based off annual salaries.
In WGEA’s latest scorecard, it found in Australia’s most female dominated industry, healthcare and social assistance, work to close the pay gap was actually going backwards.

In 2015-16, there was a 14.7 per cent pay gap between men and women in that industry, which has since risen to 15.9 per cent.

Director Libby Lyons said employers couldn’t become complacent in addressing gender equality and needed to keep their feet on the pedal.

“I’d have to say overall I’m disappointed this year … I think it would be fair to say that it’s modest improvement at best,” she told AAP.

Ms Lyons pointed to the pay gap as well as the lack of female chief executives or board members.

She said the number of female board members – which stood at 26.8 per cent in 2018-19 – had been stagnant around the 24 to 26 per cent mark for the past six years.

Ms Lyons said upping the number of women in companies, as well as increasing their pay packets, would boost the national economy and business profits.

“It is the smart thing to do,” she said.

Ms Lyons said the recent news Macquarie boss Shemara Wikramanayake was the highest paid chief executive in the country was the “exception rather than the rule”.

She said in previous years the agency had witnessed dramatic jumps in the pay gap but these had since slowed.

But she was heartened in the growing number of employers having a strategy around domestic violence and offering more related leave.

While over 75 per cent of the employers that provided data to the agency had a gender quality strategy, only 32.2 per cent had introduce gender equality KPIs.

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