Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Awards Business Tools Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Angela Allan
Technology Journalist

Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

Angela Allan
Technology Journalist

Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

Pay equity is still an issue, despite equal pay being introduced in Australia in 1969. But a recent Workplace Gender Equality Agency report has highlighted ways your small business can ensure fair pay.

Peta Fielding from Burleigh Brewery sitting down with a beer

A glaring difference

What the Hollywood example shows is that the pay gap is a subject people feel passionately about, and that it transcends all levels of society. In American Hustle, for example, a recent Business Insider story reported that the male actors were paid nine per cent of the profits, while Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were paid just seven per cent each.

“Gender pay gaps exist across all industries, and film and media is one area where the issue is supported by some big voices, like the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media,” says Emily Cappas, Education Advisor at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

In terms of pay, figures from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s No Ceilings Report reveal that in high-income countries, the average wage advantage for men is around 15 per cent.

And according to WGEA’s recent pay equity report, the gender pay gap in Australia is currently at 18.8 per cent. For the past 20 years, this has hovered between 15 and 19 per cent.

“Unfortunately, pay inequity is an ongoing issue for individuals and families,” adds Cappas. “It limits women’s ability to accumulate wealth, impacting on economic security in retirement and increasing reliance on government benefits and services in retirement.” 

Fair pay for a fair day’s work

Even today, there’s sometimes unconscious bias when it comes to salaries, says Cappas. There could be organisation-wide pay gaps, “by-level” pay gaps and “like-for-like pay” gaps (where men and women perform similar roles), in recruitment, promotion, performance and remuneration decisions.

Peta Fielding, director and CEO of Burleigh Brewing, which was a 2013 Telstra Business Awards winner, says that she’s been fortunate not to experience pay gaps in previous roles.  

But when it comes to hiring her own staff, employing the best candidate has always been at the forefront of her mind.

“My approach is to seek out the best person for each role that becomes available or is created as we continue to grow our business.

“As a result, our crew consists of a range of ages, backgrounds, cultures – and a mix of both genders. And yes, we operate in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, but despite that, about 25 per cent of our workforce is female. Gender does not enter our thinking when it comes to the best person for the job.”

Cappas agrees that Fielding’s business philosophy is wise when it comes to staff retention.

“Organisations that pay employees fairly, regardless of gender, will have access to a broader talent pool and be better able to retain talent.”

To ensure fair pay in all industries, Cappas says there are some steps small businesses can take.

“To tackle the issue of pay inequality, small businesses need to look at their payroll data and if they find gender pay gaps in the same or similar roles, focus on determining the reasons for the gaps, and eliminate any gender bias that may be causing them.”

Bridging the pay gap

  1. Get started by understanding the issues. Look at the stats surrounding “Like-for-like”, “By-level” and “Organisation-wide” gaps and get your head around why this is so important.
  2. Review your data and find the causes. Do a payroll analysis, identify the gaps and investigate the reasons for your existing gender pay gaps.
  3. Take action by making a decision. Develop an action plan and implement preventative action for the future.

The numbers from the WGEA report paint a telling tale. Check out our full infographic on the gender gap below:

Ensure you’re paying all employees fairly.

Head to WGEA’s site to see how you can take the first steps.

Find out more

Dave Macdonald and Annette Kaitinis of Scoot Boot
Growth
Growth
Annette Kaitinis: growing a business means knowing when to trot, canter, and gallop

Annette Kaitinis and Dave Macdonald have taken their small business with a big idea from Tasmania to the world. After just four short years, they're reaching international mark...

Charmaine Saunders of Mainie in store holding a traditional Indigenous-inspired garment.
Growth
Growth
Culture meets commerce: These Indigenous businesses are embracing both

These four Indigenous businesses – NAISDA, Purple House, Bush Medijina, and Mainie – combine commerce and culture. Find out how business works for people by Telstra Smarter Bus...

A photo of a woman from behind working at an office desk
Business IQ
Business IQ
How to empower staff and protect data security

Your cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link and that weak link is often the human element. Cyber security is a human problem. That’s why it is critical to invest...

A large amount of multi-coloured post-it notes lying in a large pile on a white floor.
Productivity
Productivity
How to multi-task and do what matters

As a busy business owner, it’s tempting to try juggling all the balls at once in order to get things done. But using the right technologies and processes – not constantly multi...