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International Women’s Day – Greater transparency needed to help close the gender pay gap

Published March 8, 2022 (last updated on April 19, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer

happy female employee in modern work space

This International Women’s Day, more transparency and preventative measures need to be discussed and implemented by business owners in order to help close the gender pay gap.

Wages have always been a hot topic for employers in Australia. Employsure currently receives an average of 5000 wage-related calls to its Advice Line a month. This makes up about 25% of Employsure’s monthly call average from a client base of 31,000 small businesses across Australia and New Zealand.

The most recent gender equality scorecard from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that while the gap has fallen, women still earn on average $25.8k less than men, and over 85% of Australian employers still pay men more than women on average.

Employsure believes in order to further close the gap, greater transparency is needed to make workers aware of their market value, and how they are paid in relation to their colleagues.

“For those who work in the public sector, their pay is usually public knowledge. When it comes to the private sector however, pay secrecy is much more common,” said Employsure Business Partner Emma Dawson.

“Many employers don’t advertise the pay for a role when it is posted online, and this secrecy can particularly put women at a disadvantage when negotiating their new salaries. This can often lead to them undervaluing their own worth compared to the market rate, because they don’t have the necessary information to bargain with.

“Openly discussing salaries can help pinpoint whether any inequalities exist, and give both employers and employees greater knowledge on where changes can be made to help close the gap.”

Experts agree not being transparent about wages can be detrimental, as seen in a recent ABC article about how pay secrecy is holding down wages for women.

Aside from greater transparency, employers can also tackle the issue of pay inequity by viewing the issue from the source – their payroll.

Employers should compare the difference in pay between genders across the business by analysing payroll data, and make changes based off that.

“Once employers have identified and assessed the gap, based on their organisation’s circumstances, they should make a plan to close it that includes clear and measurable objectives,” continued Ms Dawson.

“Assumptions shouldn’t be made about the nature and value of work in jobs that are mainly done by one gender. Appropriate training and career development protocols needs to be established to bring both male and female employees up to an equal standard.

“Recruitment and performance reviews can provide opportunities to set or increase employee pay and close the gap, and encouraging flexible work and parental leave for both men and women can also help women advance at the same rate as their male colleagues,” she concluded.


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