Gender in the workforce explored in labour market panel

Gender workforce issues can have wide reaching impacts on our labour market, productivity, and our ability to meet our skills potential as a nation. 

As an example, recent Jobs and Skills Australia data revealed that gender-skewed workforces, such as male-dominated trade and female-dominated caring roles, are more vulnerable to skills shortages, which is contributing to substantial labour challenges for those critical industries.

In December, our acting First Assistant Secretary, Cliff Bingham, chaired a panel discussion on these critical gender issues at the Australian Labour Market Research Workshop. 

The panellists were: Karen Mumford, University of York, UK, Louise O’Rance, Assistant Secretary, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Alan Duncan, Director, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. 

The panel explored the gender pay gap and found that in high income countries including Australia, the gap was sitting between 10-25% and hadn’t moved much in the last decade. Australia’s current pay gap is 21.7% when looking at total remuneration, or 13% when looking at full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings. 

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) figures quoted by Karen Mumford, found that one-third of the gender pay gap was because of caring and family responsibilities; 26% could be attributed to occupations being either more male or female-dominated, and 36% of the gender pay gap was due to discrimination. The panel also heard that the pay gap was reducing more rapidly in managerial roles. 

The WGEA will publish employer gender pay gaps for every Australian employer with 100 or more employees on 27 February 2024.

Ahead of this release, we encourage you to watch the panel discussion. 

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