Women Earn Less at every Age: WGEA

  • 5 July 2022

A “Decade of Inaction” is to blame for women continuing to earn less than men in every age bracket.  ACTU President Michele O’Neil says this will continue “until we address the undervaluation and underpayment of women-dominated industries, including teaching, nursing, and care”.  Australia went backwards from 14th to 70th place on the global gender pay gap index. The WGEA is urging employers to boost part-time workers’ access to management roles and implement gender-neutral leave policies, as gender pay gap  research shows women make up less than half of the full-time workforce and are out-earned by men at every age.

Even though Australian women complete higher education and enter the labour market at a higher rate than men, new WGEA research says they are still substantially less likely to work full-time across all age groups and to reach the highest earning levels.

It also warns that millennial women aged 35 and under are currently reaching management at equal rates as men but will earn just 70% of that of male counterparts by the time they reach age 45 if the current trajectory continues. The agency says the divergence occurs from age 35, when men are predominantly working full-time, and women are mainly working part-time or casually.

Michele O’Neil says unions are looking forward to working with the Albanese Government to include gender equity in the Fair Work Act, implement all remaining Respect@Work report recommendations, prohibit pay secrecy and roll out public reporting of pay gaps.

The ACTU says women are earning on average $483.30 less per week than men “largely due to women shouldering the majority of care responsibilities” and making up 61% of workers reliant on award and minimum wages.

The WGEA put the overall gender pay gap at 14.2% in August last year.