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SAGE responds to the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill

2 min read
Gender Equality

Gender pay gap transparency will encourage accountability, and its publication is one key solution to drive action to closing the gender pay gap, according to SAGE CEO, Dr Janin Bredehoeft. 

The comment comes following the passing of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023, which will require the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to publish pay gap data for employers with 100 or more employees. 

“WGEA data from 2021-22 revealed that compared to the average gender pay gap of 22.8%, the gender pay gap in tertiary education and scientific research services is relatively low at 7.7% and 14.6% respectively1 in favour of men. So while the higher education and research sector has made good progress, we cannot rest – we need to continue our work to better understand the causes of the gender pay gap in our sector and what works to reduce it,” said Dr Bredehoeft. 

Dr Bredehoeft said that organisations should start preparing for the publication of gender pay gaps now. 

“This legislation creates a real reputational risk for organisations that are not serious about tackling their gender pay gap. Don’t wait to be named and shamed. Use the next 12 months to review and improve your gender equity policies and practices.” 

Organisations have tools available to them to assess their gender pay gap, like conducting a gender pay gap analysis using the WGEA calculator and the WGEA guide to Gender Equity. 

“Despite having the tools available, we know that only 56% of medical research institutes and 74% of universities have conducted a remuneration analysis in the last two years. 38% of universities have a formal policy or strategy for a performance assessment process to ensure equal remuneration.” 

According to Dr Bredehoeft, these figures must increase if we are to close the gender pay gap. Every organisation needs to conduct a pay gap analysis, report the results to their executive, and identify the drivers of their pay gap. 

“One of the key drivers is usually occupational segregation, where women predominantly work in lower-paid roles, while men work in more highly paid management or technical roles.” 

“Whatever your drivers may be, take targeted actions to address them, monitor the outcomes and review those actions if necessary,” said Dr Bredehoeft. 

“These actions could include making training and development opportunities accessible to all employees, particularly those who work part-time. Eliminate biases from your recruitment and promotion processes. Develop and follow a transparent policy for determining bonuses and other discretionary pay. These will go a long way to support employees on their career progression and close the gender pay gap.” 

Reporting will commence in 2024, drawing on data already provided by employers, with gender pay gaps published on the WGEA website. 

SAGE Limited is a not-for-profit company that accredits and grants awards for gender equity, diversity and inclusion. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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