Office workers on their lunch break in Sydney.
Employers with 100-plus staff must publish their gender pay gaps to encourage workplace equality. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • professional - Women general

Gender pay gaps to be exposed at Australian companies

Kat Wong January 6, 2024

Australia’s biggest employers will be named and shamed when their gender pay gaps are laid bare.

In February, Australian companies with 100 or more workers will have their pay discrepancies between male and female employees published online.

This comes after the federal government passed legislation in March with the hopes of improving transparency, closing the gender pay gap and bolstering women’s participation in the workforce.

Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher, said this reform was a major advance.

“Publishing gender pay gaps is an important step in raising awareness, and holding organisations to account where there is a gender pay gap across their organisation – and that’s a big change,” she said.

Though the gender pay gap is at its lowest ever levels, according to the government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, there is still a 21.7 per cent rift – or about $26,400 less per year.

Wage discrepancies are caused by a multitude of factors like gender-segregated workplaces, caring responsibilities often shouldered by women and high rates of part-time work.

“Not only do these factors contribute to the gender pay gap, but they compound over a lifetime, and this results in a massive lifetime gender earnings gap,” Senator Gallagher said.

Katy Gallagher.
 Katy Gallagher says publishing gender pay gaps helps hold companies to account on income equality. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

Publishing this data could help drive action by giving employees greater understanding and allowing them to seek increased wages by arguing for higher pay at a current workplace or moving to one that has begun tackling gender pay discrepancies.

In the nine months since the legislation passed, Senator Gallagher says companies have begun sharing their data with the WGEA and highlighting the actions they are taking to close the pay gaps and any challenges involved.

“It’s great to see employers stepping up and being real partners in this effort,” she said.

“I think for those that have a significant gender pay gap, they’re going to have to change the way they do things.”

The employer gender pay gaps will be published on February 27.