Gender pay gap widens in health care

Gender pay gap widens in health care

By Amber Jacobs on 7 November 2018 The gender pay gap has widened in the health care and social assistance sector but narrowed in other industries, a report reveals.

According to Financy’s Women’s Index September report, health care and social assistance recorded the largest increase in the gender pay gap. After a slight decrease of just over half a percentage point in 2017, the gap in this industry went up 10% in the past quarter from 22.8% in June 2018 to 25% in September 2018.

However, the pay gap across all industries has decreased from 16% in this year’s June quarter to 14.6% in September.

ABS data shows health care and social assistance is the industry with the highest proportion of female workers at 79%.

Construction, the industry with the highest proportion of males at 87%, experienced a significant drop in its gender pay gap in the past quarter from 20% to 15%.

Women underrepresented in management


According to Financy’s CEO, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, the rise in the gender pay gap in health care and social assistance is due to a recent increase in the number of female employees in lower level roles, and an underrepresentation of women in management. Health care and social assistance employed 668,000 full-time female workers in the latest quarter, compared to 659,200 in May.

“Currently there is a heavy concentration of women in lower to middle income roles and this is likely to have inflated the gender pay gap.” says Ms Hartge-Hazelman.

“Where you have more men in senior management roles in comparison to women, it will be more difficult to close the gender pay gap. The Financy Women's Index recommends measures to increase the number of women in leadership roles across Australian sectors, not just boards. This would greatly assist average wages growth and pay disparity, particularly in sectors where women dominate such as in health and education.”

Measures recommended by the index include government requirements or incentives for businesses to pay superannuation on paid and unpaid parental leave, as well as enhancing measures to allow more women and primary carers to more easily make catch up payments when back at work after children.

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