Mar 7, 2014

Get Fact: do men make much more than women for the same job?

Australian men are said to earn 17.1% more than Australian women, and even those in the same jobs are paid 10% more just for being men. Right? Well, not exactly ...

Everyone knows there is a double-digit “gender pay gap” in Australia. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, using Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, puts that gap at 17.1%. In September last year it was 17.5%, according to the agency.

“The gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings,” WGEA’s Clare Buttner explained to Crikey. “The gap is currently 17.1% and has hovered between 15% and 18% for the past two decades. We also know there are pay gaps in favour of men in every industry and in all roles, including in female-dominated industries.”

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

20 thoughts on “Get Fact: do men make much more than women for the same job?

  1. Jane Caro

    But why are female dominated professions paid less than male dominated ones? Is that just an accident?
    Maybe, but I would suggest it is arguable that nursing, teaching, child care, aged care – even GPs – are devalued because we devalue women and the work women do. We do it so automatically we are blind to it.
    Women are meant to work more for love – anything else is selfish – whereas men are congratulated for working for money.
    I don’t think you’ve proved your case as well as you think you have.

  2. JohnB

    Sloppy work, Crikey. This subject is worth deeper analysis.

    I’m surprised that the author hasn’t mentioned that federal public servants no longer have to leave the service when they marry… female ones, that is.

    Until, as Jane mentioned, the caring-sharing industries have equal or better remuneration scales than simpler ones which deal with bits of paper or numbers, rather than living, breathing, complex human beings such as accountancy or merchant banking, then there is still work to be done.

    When was the last time you heard of a multi-million dollar bonus for a nurse or a teacher, no matter how outstanding her work is?

  3. Tim Dymond

    I’m sorry – you cannot dismiss this report as ‘mostly rubbish’ when you don’t even address the traditional undervaluing of predominantly female occupations. This was the whole basis of the Social and Community Service sector Pay equity case which the Fair Work Commission issued numerous rulings over the last few years. Your so-called Fact check is ‘mostly rubbish’.

  4. samquigley

    It’s about scarcity. The market is amoral. I don’t like it and you don’t like it, but that doesn’t affect the facts of the matter. It doesn’t mean a teacher or a nurse is less valuable to society than a naval engineer, but there are a lot more of them, and society isn’t (directly, obviously) paying engineers’ salaries.

    Now, as to why fewer females attempt (let alone complete) engineering degrees, there is absolutely a brodude culture that needs to be redressed.

  5. Jenny

    FFS Don’t you realise the comment “males tend to be over-represented in higher-paying fields” is just another way of saying men are paid more? Why do you think male dominated industries have higher wages than female dominated industries? Even unskilled male labourers in mining & manufacture earn more than skilled female workers in childcare. This was the whole basis of the pay equity court case.

  6. paddy

    I think the Fib-O-Matic has it about right.

    Despite all the contortions to explain why women aren’t *really* all that worse off….

    This article is “Mostly Rubbish”.

  7. D Marshall

    Jane: “I would suggest it is arguable that nursing, teaching, child care, aged care – even GPs – are devalued because we devalue women and the work women do.”

    I would disagree. Those jobs have lower pay because they’re generally government jobs.

    Government jobs are generally paid less than corporate jobs. Compare accountants, HR managers, IT admins, whatever. Govt employees generally receive lower pay than their counterparts in the business world.

    In fact we are having trouble recruiting a finance manager into my govt dept because we cannot offer the money that suitable candidates are already earning elsewhere. Due to our grade/award system we can only offer $104k for a financial controller – same role in same size private organisation would be on at least $130k.

    I have done the SAME job in both fields and have seen this first-hand. It’s because govt jobs often have other perks – flex time and security – which corporates can’t offer so you get more money instead.

    Gender is IMHO far less of an issue in your example.

  8. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    Thank god my Mum encouraged me NOT to go into any traditional female industries. I think it is important for women to understand that on average they will be paid less in any ‘caring’ roles and doing a traditionally ‘male’ job the likelihood is that they will be paid better. I think that those in the female dominated industries also have to look to themselves to organize and unionize themselves for better pay in the same way Men in, say, the construction industry have.
    Regarding this article, I can see nowhere on the WEGA article any assertion that Men and Women are being paid significantly differently for doing the same job. Yes Graduates they may be paid significantly differently for the same ‘occupational areas’ but that’s not the same as the same Job. By my thinking the only thing that is ‘Mostly Rubbish’ is Crikey’s Byline.

  9. JamesH

    This article’s viewpoint is myopic. The fact that having a child or seeking flexible working hours to raise children permanently lowers one’s earning potential is itself evidence of gender bias.
    An important reason that caring work is low-paid is that people in caring fields are effectively in competition with unpaid women who have left the workforce to do caring. So the expectation that women should be willing to do unpaid housework/childcare/etc drags down female wages both directly and indirectly.

  10. Jimmyhaz

    ‘So while a gender pay gap does exist in Australia, it does not seem to be the case that women are paid much less simply because of their gender. Choosing lower-paid careers, a temporary break in earnings to raise children and a need for flexible or part-time working hours all hurt women’s earning potential.’

    Total rubbish, I remember a very recent study that shows that even with all those factors controlled for, there is still a very real, and statistically significant pay gap between men and women.

    This article seems like something out of the counter-counter-culture movement of the ’80’s. It already has its’ answer, and it is working back from there.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details