Skip to content
Employment Relations, Women

Gender pay gap is not due to occupation choice: New research

e61 Institute 3 mins read

Australia’s gender pay gap, which currently sits at 15 per cent, cannot be sufficiently explained by women working in lower-paying sectors than men, new research by e61 Institute has found.


e61’s new analysis of tax data shows that while men and women are often segregated by occupation, this factor alone actually accounts for only 20 per cent of the gender pay gap. 80 per cent of the gender pay gap is due to women being paid less than men within the same occupation. 


For example, among high-paying occupations such as doctors, dentists and investment managers, women are paid between 10 to 14 per cent less than men.


The report finds that different characteristics and skills, such as job tenure, full-time status and education level, do not explain why women work in different occupations, nor why they are paid less when working in the same occupation than men. 


The analysis does however find that marriage and parenthood have a much greater effect on women’s wages than men’s within the same occupation.


“This research busts the outdated myth that the gender pay gap exists because more women are nurses, carers and administrators and while more men are lawyers, bankers, and pilots,” said Silvia Griselda, Research Manager at e61 Institute.


“What the data shows is that most of the gender pay gap is because women are paid less than men within the same occupation. Policies and action, by companies and governments, to increase female representation in high-paying occupations are very important but unlikely to significantly narrow the gender wage gap on their own.


“Australians frequently hear claims that the gender pay gap is driven by women not working full time or not staying with employers for the same periods of time. Our analysis of the data shows these factors are actually quite insignificant.


"When we compare men and women with similar age, employment and marital status, number of children and academic ability, working in the same occupation, women have an hourly wage that is 15 per cent less than men’s.


“The factor that does seem to drive the gap wider is personal – being married and having dependent children imposes a penalty on how much women earn compared to men. This penalty exists for women but not for men.”


Elyse Dwyer, Research Economist at e61, said the analysis provides an indication for companies on how to best reduce the gender pay gap.


“One potential reason for the pay gap for men and women working in the same occupation is the type of firms that men and women are working for. Men may be more likely to work in high-paying firms, which require less flexibility and longer working hours. e61 Institute is currently undertaking research to understand this.


“Another potential reason is that women may be less able to pursue leadership opportunities or high-paying but demanding specialties within the same occupation,” said Ms Dwyer.


“Our research suggests that the most effective way for companies to narrow the gender pay gap is to foster an inclusive environment where all employees, regardless of gender, are encouraged to take on domestic and parental responsibilities.


“This could include being more flexible as to when or where work tasks are completed, encouraging job-sharing in leadership positions and diversifying hiring practices.


“Simply focussing on encouraging women into higher-paying occupations, such as pilots or lawyers, will not be enough to end the pay gap. The bulk of the gains will more likely come from improved workplace flexibility that allows more women to take on higher-paying positions.”


e61 Institute is a non-partisan economic research institute

Contact details:

Charlie Moore: 0452 606 171

More from this category

  • Building Construction, Women
  • 30/05/2024
  • 15:20

Breaking ground: Why now is the time for addressing gender diversity in Australian construction

Recent statistics reveal that while women comprise nearly half of the total Australian workforce, they represent only a fraction of those employed in construction…

  • Contains:
  • General News, Women
  • 30/05/2024
  • 09:06
Lovehoney AU

Australia’s most-asked sex questions of 2024 revealed

Hey, I hope you're well. I've gotexciting new data that reveals the burning desires and sexual queries shaping the nation's bedroom conversations - your readers will love this! A new study conducted by Lovehoney AUhas revealed a fascinating glimpse into the sexual curiosity of Aussies with an analysis of the most searched-for sex questions across Australia. Using Google keyword searches, the top five most searched sex questions in Australia were revealed as: What is BDSM? How to increase libido? What is the clitoris? What is sex positivity? Can you have sex when pregnant? Please find the full list of most…

  • Employment Relations, Industrial Relations
  • 29/05/2024
  • 13:13
Wage Inspectorate Victoria

Labour hire agency fined $15,500 for failing to pay long service leave entitlements

A labour hire agency has been fined $15,500 without conviction in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after failing to pay casual workers their long service leave entitlements, despite them completing at least 7 years’ service. Allstaff Australia RJE Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to pay 5 casual employees more than $32,000 in outstanding long service leave entitlements on the day their employment ended. Individual underpayments ranged from $5,176 to $7,460, with some employees not receiving the money they were owed for over two years after their employment ended. Wage Inspectorate Victoria began an investigation into Allstaff Australia RJE in November…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.