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Firms commit to equal pay as women still lag behind nationwide

Firms commit to equal pay as women still lag behind nationwide

Battle of the sexes

Firms have come out expressing their support for yesterday’s Equal Pay Day, after new research showed that there is still a definitive gap between men and women.

According to the latest figures released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the Australian gender pay gap currently stands at 15.3 per cent. This is a decrease of 0.9 percentage points in comparison to the previous 12-month period.

Collectively, women are described as earning on average $251.90 per week less than men. The average full-time weekly earnings of women are stated as $1,387.10, while for men its $1,638.30.

On a state-by-state/territory basis, the report found that Western Australia has the highest gender pay gap at 22.8 per cent, followed by the NT at 21.6 per cent, Queensland at 16.7 per cent, NSW at 14.7 per cent, Victoria at 13.3 per cent, ACT at 12.4 per cent and Tasmania at 11.9 per cent.

The gender pay gap is currently lowest in South Australia at 9.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, in terms of industry, financial and insurance services are stated as having the highest gender pay gap at 29.6 per cent, followed by professional, scientific and technical services (24.3 per cent), construction (23.3 per cent), rental, hiring and real estate services (23.1 per cent), and arts and recreation services (22.1 per cent).

Those industries with the lowest gender pay gap are education and training (10.9 per cent), manufacturing (10.8 per cent), electricity, gas, water and waste services (9.6 per cent), retail trade (9.0 per cent), and public administration and safety (5.9 per cent).

In light of Equal Pay Day yesterday – 4 September 2017 – both King & Wood Mallesons and Ashurst have both shown their support for equal pay and gender equality at large.

Firstly, KWM’s new chief executive partner, Australia, Berkeley Cox has been named a WGEA CEO Pay Equity ambassador, along with global managing partner Sue Kench, who is a long-standing CEO Pay Equity ambassador.

According to a statement released by the firm, the position acknowledges the pair as leaders in gender equality, with KWM recognised for recent achievements such as: a partnership gender target focus, with 70 per cent female representation in the firm’s most recent Australian partnership appointments; regular gender analyses of core people processes, including remuneration outcomes which highlighted an overall legal staff difference of 2 per cent in favour of females; and the launch of a revised Equitable Briefing Policy, which adopts the Law Council of Australia’s Equitable Briefing Policy.

Ashurst’s global managing partner Paul Jenkins has also upheld his ongoing commitment as a WGEA Pay Equity ambassador, further bolstering his firm’s drive to ensure gender equality.

“I am proud to support Equal Pay Day to raise awareness about the challenges women continue to face in the wider business community,” Mr Jenkins said.

“This support is a reflection of Ashurst’s commitment to establishing gender pay [equity, actively] addressing and monitoring it through our diversity and inclusion strategy, and working to foster the best and widest talent pools to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

Mr Jenkins said Ashurst has committed to three gender targets by 2018 where (as a minimum) it aims to have 40 per cent of new partners each year be women, 25 per cent of its senior management roles to be held by women and 25 per cent of its equity partners to be women.

According to a statement from Ashurst, as of 1 May 2017, 21 per cent of new partners are female; women comprise 16 per cent of the equity partnership and occupy 16 per cent of senior management roles (including 36 per cent of the board and 25 per cent of the executive team).

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