Accounting tops Aussie list for salary bias

A new report has revealed that the finance and insurance services sector, including accounting, has the highest gender pay gap, as well as low numbers of women in leadership roles.

Yesterday Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), in collaboration with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), released the Gender Equity Insights 2017: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap report, based on information reported by over 12,000 organisations that capture more than 4 million Australian employees.

BCEC director Professor Alan Duncan spoke to Accountants Daily about the gender pay gap in the accounting industry in particular.

“Accountancy, which is part of the finance and insurance services sector of the report, has historically had a relatively high gender pay gap,” Professor Duncan said.

“It actually ranks at the top across all industry sectors in relation to the gender pay gap.”

In 2015-16, the average full-time base salary for women in the financial and insurance services sector was $84,593, almost $30,000 less than their male counterparts whose average full-time base salary was $114,204.

This represents a 25.9 per cent gender pay gap and puts the financial and insurance services sector at the top of the table above all other sectors.

This is a slight improvement on the 27.3 per cent pay gap recorded between women and men in the financial and insurance services sector in 2014-15.

Professor Duncan said that gender pay gaps are often linked to low representation of women in key management personnel (KMP) or executive positions.

The report revealed that women make up an average of 26 per cent of leadership in the financial and insurance services sector.

“I would say that’s associated with the gender pay gap for finance and insurance, which is the largest across all industry sectors,” Professor Duncan said.

Professor Duncan said that companies which increased the share of women in leadership roles had a positive impact on their gender pay gap.

“We're able to look at the impact on the gender pay gap for those companies who have shown an increase in the share of women in leadership positions over the two years, between 2015 and 2016,” Professor Duncan noted.

“We found a strong association, about 3 percentage point reduction in the gender pay gap among firms that increased the share of women in leadership positions by about 10 per cent.

“So you do see that there's a sense in relation to lead from the top does translate in to reductions in the equality metrics such as gender pay gaps.”

 

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