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ACT Public Service narrowing the gender pay gap

By johnboy - 9 March 2011 12

The Minister for Women Joy Burch has the thrilling news that women in the sheltered workshop of the ACT Public Service now earn just 3.3% less than men.

The pay gap between women and men in the ACT Public Service has decreased to 3.3 per cent in 2009-10, bucking the national trend and taking women in the service a step closer to pay parity, ACT Minister for Women Joy Burch said today.

The ACT Commissioner for Public Administration’s ACT Public Service Workforce Profile for 2009-10 published this week shows the pay gap in the ACTPS contracted from 5.5 per cent in 2008-09 to 3.3 per cent last year.

The report also shows that women are earning more than their male counterparts in five ACT Government agencies, including two major departments – the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services and the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

The national pay gap was 17.6 per cent at May 2010, up from 16.9 per cent the previous year, while the ACT-wide gender pay gap increased from 11 per cent to 13.8 per cent over the same period. These gender pay gap figures are based on full-time adult ordinary time earnings figures compiled by the ABS.

Now how has this contributed to the ACT being a better governed polity?

For those who really want to know the ACT PS workforce profile is available.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
ACT Public Service narrowing the gender pay gap
Watson 12:31 pm 09 Mar 11

Oops, maybe that was actually just one department. Still searching…

Watson 12:25 pm 09 Mar 11

neanderthalsis said :

b) More women work in “lower skilled” occupations in the services and community care sectors and are, as such, on lower wages than those in higher skilled occupations.

According to the last stats I saw about ACTPS and positions by gender, this wasn’t actually true at all. I remember substantially more men in the higher management position, but quite a lot more women in the middle range positions and more men in the lowest paid positions, which often require physical labour. Will try dig up these figures now…

georgesgenitals 12:15 pm 09 Mar 11

MissAppropriation said :

Question for the Hivemind: Would we be ok with Men/Fathers taking time off (aka – being the wife) for a few years to rear children, and upon return to full time employment, receive a reduced level of pay, and reduced career progression prospects, in accordance with the way Women are treated in the workforce now?

No problem at all. In fact, it happens more than people think already, no with paternity leave but with taking a year off to go traveling. The outcome is the same. I’ve worked consistently full time since leaving uni a bit over a decade ago, and earn considerably more than friends who took time off to travel.

People earn what they earn because of their choices. As long as we don’t discriminate in terms of pay for an individual role based on anything other than ability and achievement, I think we’re all good.

Ian 12:13 pm 09 Mar 11

b) More women work in “lower skilled” occupations in the services and community care sectors and are, as such, on lower wages than those in higher skilled occupations.

Part of the problem is actually how different types of work are valued. For example are male dominated occupations like truck drivers, bus drivers, labourers any more skilled than female dominated occupations like child care workers, aged care workers etc. I doubt it, and certainly skill difference does not justify the pay differences – more like industrial muscle or lack thereof, and the capacity of the employer to pay.

qbngeek 12:13 pm 09 Mar 11

MissAppropriation said :

Question for the Hivemind: Would we be ok with Men/Fathers taking time off (aka – being the wife) for a few years to rear children, and upon return to full time employment, receive a reduced level of pay, and reduced career progression prospects, in accordance with the way Women are treated in the workforce now?

If I had been given the chance to stay at home with the kids after they were born while my wife went back to work, I would have out the door before you could blink. As a father of two I would love more time to spend with my kids especially when they were babies.

johnboy 12:11 pm 09 Mar 11

EvanJames said :

Well, I think anyone, male or female, who exits the workforce for any reason, and comes back part time, is going to feel the effects. Should they be elevated over people who have committed to the job? Exiting the workforce to have kids is a lifestyle decision, getting a leg up on return at the expense of others seems pretty abhorrent to me.

The fact is it is mostly women who do the family track thing, so they are the ones most disadvantaged by it. It’s not a massive plot against procreating females.

Well yes and no, our society’s future depends on intelligent women choosing to have children.

If that means a few men have to take a comparative hit it might be worth it in the long run.

neanderthalsis 12:09 pm 09 Mar 11

MissAppropriation said :

Question for the Hivemind: Would we be ok with Men/Fathers taking time off (aka – being the wife) for a few years to rear children, and upon return to full time employment, receive a reduced level of pay, and reduced career progression prospects, in accordance with the way Women are treated in the workforce now?

Let us first clear up a few untruths in your post. Women coming back into the workplace don’t come back to “reduced levels of pay and reduced career progression”. They come back into the paypoint for whatever job they were hired to do. Becoming a mother doesn’t automatically mean your pay is slashed. If they come back to the same job, it will generally be at the same paypoint as they were on when they left. If they go back to a lower level or part time job (as some choose to do), they will be payed accordingly.

If a man was to do the same, it would be perfectly reasonable for him to go back to the same job and the same pay as he was previously on. His former peers would have spent time in the job and gained further experience, this may have lead to promotion or increased duties warranting higher pay rates.

EvanJames 12:05 pm 09 Mar 11

Well, I think anyone, male or female, who exits the workforce for any reason, and comes back part time, is going to feel the effects. Should they be elevated over people who have committed to the job? Exiting the workforce to have kids is a lifestyle decision, getting a leg up on return at the expense of others seems pretty abhorrent to me.

The fact is it is mostly women who do the family track thing, so they are the ones most disadvantaged by it. It’s not a massive plot against procreating females.

neanderthalsis 11:59 am 09 Mar 11

Snave81 said :

While the survey seems to have compared full time male employees with full time female employees, did it take into account length of service in a full time role?

Nope, they take a rather simplistic approach to these things. Average male wage vs average female wage, they spot the substantial difference between the two and commence the wailing and gnashing of teeth before declaring It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World, and women are poor, disadvantaged creatures oppressed by the big bad men who stop women earning as much as they do.

The simple truth is that Awards make no differentiation between the sexes, EBAs and individual contracts can’t discriminate based on sex; it’s just that:
a) Many women spend a sizable chunk of time outside the workforce when having children, and consequently those who stayed in have been promoted ahead of them. The old Senior Women in Management program in the APS aimed at promoting women who had left for some time into senior positions; and
b) More women work in “lower skilled” occupations in the services and community care sectors and are, as such, on lower wages than those in higher skilled occupations.

MissAppropriation 11:35 am 09 Mar 11

Question for the Hivemind: Would we be ok with Men/Fathers taking time off (aka – being the wife) for a few years to rear children, and upon return to full time employment, receive a reduced level of pay, and reduced career progression prospects, in accordance with the way Women are treated in the workforce now?

JessP 11:10 am 09 Mar 11

I 100% agree that is a male and a female are both doing the same job (at the same level) then they should be paid at the same rate – and I would assume this would be the case in the ACTPS and the APS. But if women take time of to have children, work part time and have a life generally then that is also OK and I would not expect them to be on the same level and accordingly not the same pay.

Women should not be promoted because they are women (nor should men for that matter) but becasue they are the right person with the right experience for the job.

Snave81 10:08 am 09 Mar 11

While the survey seems to have compared full time male employees with full time female employees, did it take into account length of service in a full time role?

For example, a female may have been employed for 10 years, but if she has had a few kids, she may have only been full time, and thus gaining the necessary work experience to get a promotion, for half that time when you take into account maternity leave and possible part time return to work. Maybe the pay gap figures can be tweaked depending on the data used to calculate them.

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