Attracting and retaining staff will remain one of the key business challenges for all Western Australian businesses. Demographic change – particularly an ageing workforce – means that Western Australia will experience ongoing labour and skill shortages. Long term business success therefore depends on putting strategies in place to ensure a reliable source of employees going into the future.
Western Australia’s high gender pay gap reflects the fact that barriers to workforce participation and career progression for women continue to exist. The gender pay gap can make women less likely to participate in the workforce. By addressing pay equity, organisations can encourage women’s greater workplace participation and consequently make more skilled workers available to business.
Companies with 100 or more employees are required to report annually to the federal Workplace Gender Equality Agency on a range of gender indicators.
Women's participation in the labour force and thus the availability of their skills for employers is affected by a range of factors. Western Australian employers have the capacity to overcome many of the factors that may currently discourage women’s participation.
Addressing pay equity within organisations focuses on identifying and removing barriers to workforce participation and career progression for female employees. In practice addressing pay equity involves:
undertaking a pay equity audit, which is an analysis of payroll data to determine areas and occupations where gender pay differentials may exist
reviewing human resource policies and practices to ensure that they do not directly or indirectly hinder career progression for female employees, such as not permitting part time work at senior levels and
making flexible working arrangements available for all employees, and promoting a workplace culture that supports their use.
To improve pay equity in your organisation there are four key stages you should follow to make practical and long lasting change.
Improving pay equity in your organisation
The four steps: building a case, gathering data, identifying strategies and implementation and monitoring.
Stage 1: Build a business case
Building a business case for pay equity in your organisation is critical if you are going to have any success in improving gender diversity and pay equity. This includes obtaining high level support and establishing a working group responsible for pay equity and gender diversity.
Useful statistics to help build your business case
The world’s biggest companies, worth more than $10 billion, with women and men on their boards, outperformed by 26% comparable businesses with all-male boards over the past six years.
A longitudinal study of 800 Australian companies has found senior managers in diversity conscious organisations reported higher financial performance, productivity and employee retention
Companies with three or more women in senior management roles or on boards deliver better financial performance than companies with no women at the top
There is growing evidence that the companies with the highest representation of women in top management perform better financially than companies with fewer female senior executives. An international Catalyst study noted those with senior women produced better returns on equity (35% higher) and total returns to shareholders were up 36%
Closing the gap between male and female employment rates would boost Australia’s GDP by 11%
Closing the gap between male and female productivity rates has the potential to boost the level of economic activity by as much as 20%
Stage 2: Gather and analyse data
Undertaking a pay equity audit and conducting employee perception surveys assists organisations in identifying where gender pay inequities may exist within their workplace.
Stage 3: Identify strategies to improve pay equity
After identifying areas of concern from a pay equity audit there are many different strategies that can be implemented to improve pay equity in your organisation.
Stage 4: Implement and monitor pay equity strategies
Implementing and monitoring pay equity strategies involves developing a pay equity plan and communication strategy which will outline how strategies will be implemented, the resources required and the stakeholders involved.
A range of resources for private sector companies wishing to undertake a pay equity audit are available on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.