Report shows construction industry gender pay gap has widened

Results from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WEGA) 2019-20 report show the construction industry now rated to have the second highest pay gap.

Behind the Financial and Insurance Service industry which was found to have a gender pay gap of 27.5 per cent, the construction industry was found to have a gender pay gap of 26.1 per cent.

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) said this was an increase of 0.1 per cent since 2019 and on average equates to a difference of $36,361 in total renumeration between males and females.

NAWIC National Chair Kristine Scheul said the report card results are disappointing given how much discussion and work has been undertaken to turn it around.

“That in 2020 we’re faced with an increase in the gender pay gap speaks to how much more engagement needs to be undertaken with our stakeholders,” she said.

“As one of our key advocacy pieces, we’ve been focused on working within the industry to reduce the pay gap below the national average. To have it actually increase is disheartening but we are looking forward to continuing our work with industry to change the trajectory.”

There have been some positive moves within industry, flexibility in construction workplaces is up 9.1 percentage points to 64.6 per cent and paid parental leave has been increased with the construction industry rising over 10 percent since 2016/17.

“While Covid has recently played a role in fast-tracking flexible workplace solutions, we are happy to see such a marked increase, especially when measured against other industries. The increase in paid parental leave is also a very welcome statistic,” Scheul said.

There has also been an increase in gender balance at the executive levels with female CEO’s increasing about one percent to 18.3 per cent and female representation on boards grew to 28.1 per cent.

Further to this increase, women now comprise 39.9 per cent of all managers. In 2019-20, 44.7 per cent of all manager appointments went to females.

“We look forward to seeing both these figures increase,” Scheul says.

“Not just within construction but across all industries. At NAWIC, we actively encourage all industry
sectors to employ women in leadership and decision-making roles so that whole-of-industry policy and cultural change is achieved actively and purposefully.”

The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men, expressed by a percentage of men’s earnings. This is collected as an average across organisations, industries and the workforce as a whole.

The WEGA data is based on 4,943 reports submitted in accordance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 for the reporting period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. The data covers over four million Australian employees.


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