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Gender Equality: How do we drive change in 2017

Gender equality in the workplace has been under the spotlight in the last week at the World Economic Forum with Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF commenting on the slow down in progress across the last decade. In particular the current pace of change that predicts it will take us 170 years to reach parity.

In Australia, the pay gap sits at 23.1% according to the latest WGEA Gender Equality Scorecard report for 2016. It also shows that men earn on average almost $27,000 more than women.

In the first of our series on pay equity, we discuss the key insights from the WGEA report, what they mean for Australian businesses and how you can drive change in 2017.


The latest report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency announced that only 27% of reporting organisations had completed any form of pay equity analysis in the last year.

To put that into perspective, of the 12,000+ reporting employers and 4 million+ employees included in the report, just over 3,000 organisations conducted a pay gap analysis. In comparison to the previous year at 26.3%, this number has shown a slight uptick and progress can be called modest at best.

According to the latest data, the pay gap in Australia now sits at 23.1% (based on full time re numeration) and men earn nearly $27,000 more a year than women, a not insignificant amount of money.

What we can derive from the story behind the statistics is that we are still battling the underlying core issues that are causing the pay gap namely:

How is pay equity still a thing?

The first step towards driving change and creating solutions is to perform a pay gap analysis, after all we can’t manage what we don’t measure. Undertaking a rigorous pay gap analysis provides organisations with vital information critical in tackling biased decision making and how to close any pay gaps.

It is encouraging that there are a growing number of reporting organisations taking action as a result of performing a pay gap analysis and this has increased by 5.3% in the past year.

Other positive indicators include the marked increase in the percentage of organisations reporting the metrics to their governing body (14.4%, up from 9.7%) and to the executive (25.4%, up from 19.4%).

Right now, any competitor organisation, current employee, or potential employee can log on to the WGEA website and download a publicly available report, including whether they’ve completed a pay equity analysis.

So we know what the issues are, we have the rich data sets, resources and reporting from WGEA to guide us but it all leads to the question of, why don’t more organisations report on this? What are the barriers and how do we start to shift the dial?

Pay gap analysis can be a challenging process to undertake for any organisation particularly as it deals directly with how much people are paid (and therefore employee’s perceptions of how much they are valued by their employer), considerations around how you handle disclosure of any differences in addition to managing the actual data analysis and crunching the numbers takes alot of time and man hours to perform.

Many organisations may also be unsure as to where to start and what to measure.

Start with a human-centred approach

To build a richer picture and form insights from the data, it’s important to also understand the cultural and behavioural factors that are influencing the organisation. Always start with a human centred approach, do the groundwork and ask people directly for feedback from across the organisation, gather qualitative feedback on what their views and perceptions are of diversity and inclusion. This will complement the data you provide for the report.

There are  are a number of great tools and resources that can boost the impact of your analysis and recommendations:

We’ve been hard at work at A-HA developing a new reporting tool that allows organisations to take the hard work out of reporting. Want to know more? Talk to us, we’re here to help.

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