New data from the Association of Corporate Counsel Australia shows a disparity in both baseline and median salaries between the sexes in the corporate counsel sphere.
The ACC’s 2018 Global Compensation Survey, which received responses from over 5,000 corporate counsel worldwide, including over 400 in Australia, revealed that despite a mean salary for female in-house counsel of $141,000, men receive $169,000, marking a 16.5 per cent disparity.
At the entry level, women make 91 per cent of what men earn: the median base salary for those in a position for one year or less is $110,000 for females and $120,000 for males.
While the gender pay gap is smaller in the Australian in-house sphere than the global trend, there remains a 22 per cent difference between the median salary for females ($210,000) and males ($270,000).
And when looking at additional compensation, median performance-based bonuses are $10,319 for women and $13,000 for men, “which means that male in-house lawyers entering the in-house field between 2017 and 2018 report 26 per cent more in bonus than their female colleagues report”.
There are stark differences in the gender pay gap worldwide. For example, the smallest pay gap was in the United States (85 percent) and the largest was in Latin America (38 percent). Australia lags behind Canada (81 percent) but is ahead of the broader Asia-Pacific region (77 percent). Bottom line — regardless of the extent, gender pay equality is a global issue.
ACC managing director and vice president Tanya Khan said, when it comes to addressing the gender pay gap in-house, access to key data is essential to make the right decisions, so that corporate counsel and their companies are aware of the pay disparities that exist and can work to close these gaps.
“This can be done through audits of pay inequity and review and development of effective remuneration policies and reporting at board level,” she said.
“Practices like employers basing a starting salary on someone’s previous earnings can perpetuate the pay gap and should be reviewed.”