Gender Pay Equity

Gender pay equity is about ensuring women and men performing the same role are paid the same amount, and women and men performing different work of equal or comparable value are paid equitably. This requires a valuing of skills, responsibilities and working conditions in a non-discriminatory way. Unintended gender biases in hiring, promotion, performance and pay decisions can lead to incidences of pay inequity. Any unfairness or perceived unfairness can negatively impact workplace culture and productivity.  It can also negatively affect employee engagement and retention. (Source: WGEA, Guide to Gender Pay Equity)

Research shows the main factors contributing to the gender pay gap are:

  • discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions
  • women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages
  • high rate of part-time work for women
  • women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work
  • lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles
  • women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.

Paying men and women equally for the same work isn't the whole story. Find out more in the short video - The Gender Pay Gap Explained.

Gender Pay Equity at Western

Western Sydney University has a long term commitment to reducing the gender pay equity gap. Some of the measures the University has in place to improve gender pay equity include:

  • Undertaking comprehensive annual gender pay equity audits
  • Setting a target for the representation of women in all areas of management
  • Promoting workplace flexibility and supporting our staff in meeting their personal and work priorities
  • Facilitating training options for staff on the potential impacts of unconscious bias
  • Supporting women in engaging in non-traditional fields of study and work such as the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) disciplines, including participating in the pilot program of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program
  • Undertaking ongoing review and assessment of our promotions and recruitment processes and training to enhance access and opportunity for all staff.

The University has run internal pay equity audits since 2009. In 2023 the University saw a drop in the average organisation wide gender pay gap down 2.4% from 2022 to 9%.

Western Sydney University - Gender Pay Gap Employer Statement

As a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equity (EOCGE) Citation holder of 20 years, Western Sydney University (WSU) is proud of its commitment and leadership on gender equity and its efforts to closing the gender wage gap.

In the last WGEA reporting period, the University’s gender wage gap reduced from 11.4% to 9%, representing its biggest ever improvement and reflective of the University’s overall trend in incremental closing of the pay gap over the last five years.

Western Sydney University regularly reviews its pay data to identify areas of concern and appropriate solutions to help reduce the pay gap and has made a commitment to continually improve the representation of women in leadership positions and has strengthened provisions such as the promotion of flexible work practices and gender-neutral parental leave. The University has also established support networks and programs for parents and emerging leaders to support inclusive practice and career progression.

The University is aware that many factors impact its pay gap. Changes to traditional family and workplace structures, the impact of carer and family responsibilities on career success and progression, discrimination, harassment and unconscious bias, and workplace flexibility are examples of factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. Western Sydney University will act on issues that can be addressed and remains steadfast in its position to bring about better gender equity in the workplace.

The University’s commitment to gender equity is further underpinned by its 2021-2026 Gender Equity Strategy and Action Plan which guides efforts in recruiting, retaining and helping female staff to advance. The Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equity and Respectful Relationships Advisory Committee provides leadership and voice on matters of gender equity while established support networks and programs for parents and emerging leaders help to support inclusive practice and career progression. The University’s efforts on gender equity have been recognised globally, having ranked first in the world in the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for its work in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Gender Equity.

To view employer gender equality results, including gender pay gaps and any accompanying Employer Statements, visit WGEA’s Data Explorer and search by employer. You can also learn more in our Employer gender pay gap snapshot and on our interactive webpage.

Equal pay day

Equal Pay Day marks the additional time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work in order to earn the same average income as men. The Equal Pay Day for 2022 falls on Tuesday 29 August.

This year the national gender pay gap figure has been reported by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) at 14.1%, a rise of 0.3 percentage points over the last six months.

In a recent media release Mary Wooldridge, Director of WGEA stated:

"As a result of the gender pay gap, many Australian women have to work harder to make ends meet with very little room for discretionary spending or saving once they’ve covered the cost of daily essentials...The latest ABS figures from June show a skyrocketing cost-of-living for all Australians, with inflation now at 6.1 per cent over the past year...Today’s persistent gender pay gap outcome, in times of significantly increasing consumer prices, highlights the disproportionate impact that inflation has on Australian women.

When women earn an average of $264 less than men, the increasing price of everyday items consumes a larger portion of her income and makes it harder to make ends meet...placing increased stress on Australian households, particularly single parent households, as they struggle to pay for basic necessities like food and rent. It also reduces the purchasing power of Australian women, which is bad for Australian businesses and the economy. Fixing the gender pay gap requires leadership and commitment."

Vice-Chancellor statement on equal pay day 2022 - 29 August

"Today is National Equal Pay Day, which marks the average additional 60 days from the end of the previous financial year that a woman must work to earn the same as a man. This year, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) reported that the average national gender pay gap increased by 0.3% to 14.1%. This gap compounds over a lifetime to see women retiring with on average 40% less super than their male colleagues.

In a time of expanding inflation, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is calling attention to the disproportionate effect this persistent pay gap has for Australian women as they juggle the increased costs of daily living. The substantial difference in pay impacts Australian women’s financial freedom and ability to build their future financial independence. As a Pay Equity Ambassador, I encourage staff to be informed of the ongoing issues that lead to the continued gender pay gap in Australia.

Improving gender equity across our University means that all students and staff feel empowered to achieve their potential. At Western Sydney University, we continue to review our pay data to identify areas of concern. We have made a commitment to continual improvement in the representation of women in management positions and have established provisions, support networks and programs for parents, carers and emerging leaders to support inclusive practice and career progression."

Vice-Chancellor - Pay Equity Ambassador

On Equal Pay Day in 2015 the Vice-Chancellor was named a Pay Equity Ambassador as part of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of pay equity.

In renewing this commitment in 2018, the Vice-Chancellor has joined with prominent business leaders in calling for action to close the pay gap between men and women and signed the following statement:

The Pay Equity Pledge

"We recognise gender bias can creep into performance, talent development
and pay decisions to create like for like gender pay gaps.
That's why we analyse and monitor our talent management data, including pay,
by gender and take action.
We also set the expectation among people managers that they address gender bias in their decision making.
We do this because we know we can't attract and retain the best people and improve workplace productivity if there's any unfairness or perception of unfairness in our workplaces.
We encourage all business leaders to take the first step.
Equal pay is in your hands."

The Gender Pay Gap Explained

Online tools to assist women in employment negotiations

WGEA have released the Gender and Negotiation in the Workplace paper. This paper gives insight into existing research on the impact engagement in salary negotiation has long-term impacts on salary differentials. It also reviews the overall processes around workplace negotiation, and provides advice and suggestions for employers and individuals around navigating these situations skilfully.

EconomicSecurity4Women have launched an online 'Know Your Value' resource to help women when negotiating pay and employment conditions and entering into contracts. The online checklist designed specifically for women provides advice on how to confidently negotiate around pay and conditions, promotions, working arrangements and learning and development opportunities.