Gender at work

“A total overhaul of workplace culture cannot happen overnight.

Such deeply ingrained gender expectations take a long time to shift.”



Gender at Work


Each year, the Government agency that promotes gender parity in the workplace, Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), publishes data on the nation’s gender pay gap and women’s workforce participation. It’s the agency’s 6th year of measuring and reporting gender equality metrics collected from non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees. Spoiler alert: The findings are a mixed bag.


The Highlights

Over the past six years, the gender pay gap has continued to decline. From 21.3% to 20.8%, it’s a 0.5 percentage point (pp) slight reduction.

A 1.0 pp improvement in female representation on boards.

A 13.3 pp bump up in the number of companies with a plan on family and domestic violence.


The Lowlights

Women still take home almost $26K less a year than their male counterparts.

The percentage of women in C-suite roles remains stagnant at 17.1%.

More than 50% of employers still don’t offer paid parental leave.

All signs point to… yes? 

WORK180’s Valeria Ignatieva offers a refreshing perspective on WGEA’s scorecard. She insists that even though the results are “disappointing,” as described by WGEA’s director Libby Lyons, the situation in Australia’s workplaces isn’t dire, and the highlights show potential for even more progress. 

She points out that 124 out of 155 WGEA Pay Equity Ambassadors, organisations that signed the agency’s Pay Equity Pledge, work with WORK180 to provide transparency to job seekers. It’s the same network of employers that are making great strides toward diversity and inclusion strategies that attract and retain a diverse workforce and workplace policies that support flexible work and paid parental leave for all.

When it comes to parental leave, Valeria provides an insight that makes sense: “When organisations accept and actively encourage men to take up parental leave and work flexibly, it only serves to enhance the rate at which women can also take these policies up, as it drives a balance in work and personal commitments.” We agree, and we also recognise that true gender equality in Australian workplaces can be achieved—with time. 


“A total overhaul of workplace culture cannot happen overnight. Such deeply ingrained gender expectations take a long time to shift.” – Valeria Ignatieva, WORK180



As long as employers take action by analysing pay gaps and paying more than lip service, there will be an improvement in gender equality and a reduction in the gender pay gap. And these positive upswings will benefit everyone—all genders—of corporate Australia.



WORK180 are Official Sponsors of our #CULTUREBites immersions, where we meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month to talk about a different aspect of company culture, sitting at the Table with a senior leader doing great things in their workplace. 

To co-create the conversation, head here.

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