Contractors in line for rewards over gender pay wins

Large employers will have to make concrete progress on gender equality targets if they want to stay in the running for future government work.

Under a planned policy change, businesses with more than 500 employees will need to choose three benchmarks from a menu of gender equality indicators, such as narrowing their pay gaps, and meet these goals over three years.

Detailing the policy during a national address, Workplace Gender Equality Agency chief executive Mary Wooldridge said big firms hoping to contract with the government would need to comply.

“It’s actually about significant improvement and continuing the momentum,” she told the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Companies chasing a smaller gender pay gap might be required to get it from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, or in the case of parental leave policies, employers may need to add to the benefit over time.

Ms Wooldridge said where employers were on the road to gender equality would be acknowledged in the process.

“Think about BHP, for example, who set a very significant target in shifting their workforce, which was highly masculinised, and we would acknowledge their starting point.”

Ms Wooldridge said the new rules, which were still under development and in the hands of the government to legislate, would effect about 1500 employers.

Her speech followed the release of company specific pay gap data a few weeks earlier.

The data, released for the first time this year, showed almost two-thirds of employers had gender pay gaps favouring men.

A third had a pay gap close to zero and about eight per cent were in favour of women.

Ms Wooldridge said the response to the company-level data had been “phenomenal”.

“Overall, the message for employers is clear: The time for inaction and excuses is over.”

Ms Wooldridge also highlighted some forward-thinking employers, including law firm Lander and Rogers where partners have been job sharing for the past five years “to the benefit of their clients and their colleagues”.

She said companies wanting more women in leadership roles needed to re-imagine how managers could work in top positions and consider more part time opportunities and job sharing.


Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)


Like This