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 an ongoing 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 of 40% representation of women in all areas of management by 2020
  • 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 processes and training to enhance access and opportunity for all staff.

As part of the internal annual pay equity audits the University conducts, there has been a drop in the average total remuneration gender pay gap from 2019 down 0.9% to 14.5%, with the University’s base salary gender pay gap currently 13.7%. A more detailed breakdown of pay gaps across classifications, and workplace profile data including manager and non-manager representation, promotions, and staff access to flexible work and parental leave options is available at Workforce Profile and Pay Equity Analysis.

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 2020 falls on Friday 28 August.

Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, states "Closing the gender pay gap is, at its heart, a human rights issue. The pay gap shapes the lives of Australian women from the moment they enter the workforce. There is a pay gap in favour of men in our workforce even at graduate level. By the end of their working lives, women retire with far less superannuation savings, on average, than men. They are also increasingly likely to encounter poverty or homelessness in retirement. That this is happening to half the population of Australia in 2020 is, quite simply, unacceptable."  View full statement here.

Vice-Chancellor statement on equal pay day 2019 - 28 August

"Today is Equal Pay Day, which marks the average additional 59 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 the average national gender pay gap as 14.0%. Compounded over a lifetime, this gaps results in women retiring with on average 40% less superannuation than their male colleagues.

There is no single solution to reducing the gender pay gap, but Western Sydney University is continually looking at ways to address the contributing factors. Some of our recent initiatives include:

  • Undertaking annual gender pay equity audits to assist in identifying key areas for investigation;
  • Setting targets to improve the representation of women in management roles, and actively identifying ways to encourage more women into non-traditional fields of study and to work across the various disciplines;
  • Improving our workplace flexibility practices to support staff in balancing their personal and professional responsibilities;
  • Providing ongoing training for all our staff to raise awareness of unconscious bias and the significant impacts these biases can have on women in the workplace;
  • Improving promotion pathways, and expanding the support and guidance available for staff in this area; and
  • Providing mentoring programs for all our staff to support career progression and transition.

Gender discrimination, harassment and bullying is not tolerated at our University, and we will continue to review our processes, policies and practices with the aim of facilitating equal respect, access and opportunity for all our staff. I encourage staff to be informed about the ongoing issues that lead to the continued gender pay gap in Australia."

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.