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IWD 2024: Actionable steps to bridging the gender pay gap
Wed, 6th Mar 2024

While many businesses have been making strides to acknowledge the importance of gender equality, new data by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) leaves much to be desired. The WGEA recently found that in 2024, the median base salary gender pay gap nationally is sitting at 15% and increasing to 19% after taking into account bonuses, commissions and overtime — a stark difference of $18,000 a year.

It doesn’t stop there. The key findings continue to make for grim reading — 62% of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5% and in favour of men, while over 50% of organisations have a gender pay gap of over 9.1%. Unsurprisingly, the largest pay gaps have been identified in male-dominated industries such as construction, finance, engineering and law.

To help tackle the very core of the gender pay gap, HiBob recently released a study on the contemporary challenges and opportunities women encounter in the workplace. Based on responses from 2,000 women and men in Australia in January 2024, the third Women in the Workplace report uncovers how women are currently feeling in the workplace and how their attitudes and behaviours have changed since last year.

HiBob’s main finding is that over half of women (61%) said they would consider leaving their job if they found out their organisation has a gender pay gap. Positively, along with them, 36% of men echoed the same sentiment as their female colleagues, signalling a growing solidarity on pay disparity.

With the gender pay gap now out in the spotlight, modern organisations must work fast to rectify the pay gap issue or risk losing their talents. Because having a gender-diverse workplace not only fosters equality and fairness but also brings about higher financial returns — as companies with gender-diverse executive teams are said to be 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.

So, how can we start bridging the gender pay gap and create more equity in the workplace? Here are three easily achievable and actionable steps for every modern business: 

Be transparent and open on pay structures

People’s views on and approaches to pay transparency are evolving. While people used to shy away from discussing salary and compensation, we now have easier access to pay and, of course, the gender pay gap. As demand for transparency grows, companies should start to consider more openness around wage transparency by educating employees about their organisation’s pay philosophy and the types of tools they use to assure pay equity.

Having a core compensation philosophy guides how everyone approaches pay decisions and ensures a clear and transparent compensation practice. It’s an essential tool that decision-makers, like recruiters and hiring managers, can rely on when making decisions around compensation during the hiring process and for HR managers to lean on when making decisions around employee lifecycle events, like promotions, raises, and regular compensation cycles.

Conduct regular pay audits to identify discrepancies
HiBob’s survey notes that more than four in five (83%) women think organisations should conduct annual pay equality audits, while a further four in five (84%) say organisations should conduct performance and promotion audits annually to ensure they’re being done fairly.

While regular audits are a good way to identify trends and discrepancies, anyone who has done audits on spreadsheets knows how troublesome, time-consuming and ineffective it can be, making it difficult to provide a chief people officer with the information they need to make effective decisions.

However, by using modern HR tech, people teams can easily access data and insights over any period to accurately assess pay and promotions. Armed with data that’s easy to act on, chief people officers’ jobs will be much more streamlined in solving any gaps in annual pay or promotions.

As 40% of women believe that men are promoted more often or quicker than women within their company (compared with 18% of men who think the same), regular internal audits should also minimise this huge disconnect in perceptions between genders.

Championing diversity in leadership
Diversity breeds more diversity, and having representation across the company will only bring about benefits for an organisation. Women have also confirmed this in HiBob’s report, where 84% of them said organisations should promote and support diversity in leadership, with 79% adding that organisations should make diversity a core business value and foster an inclusive culture.

We want every woman to believe they can become a future leader with equal access to opportunities at the earliest stage of their leadership career. Organisations should measure the percentage of women in leadership roles within a company and ensure that female employees have access to mentoring and employee resource groups (ERGs) programs. That will go a long way to ensuring better diversity and inclusion, ultimately bridging the gender pay gap.