Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) share a commitment to diversity and inclusion, particularly gender equality. As part of this commitment, KPMG, DCA, and WGEA have worked together to develop a greater evidence base on the nature and drivers of the gender pay gap in Australia.

The purpose of the She’s Price(d)less :The Economics of the gender pay gap report (July 2022) is to document the latest available evidence on the nature and magnitude of drivers of the gender pay gap in Australia.

In Australia the three main contributors to the gender pay gap continue to be: gender discrimination; care, family responsibilities and workforce participation; and gender segregation by job type. These primary drivers of the pay gap combined amount to an equivalent of a gender pay gap of $898 million per week in earnings.

The single largest, and consistent over time, contributor to the gender pay gap in Australia is gender discrimination which contributes to 36% of the total gap. Care and family workforce participation contribute 33% and the type of job 24%.

The report considered the impact of COVID and while there has been no change in the gender pay gap in real terms between 2017 and 2020, data shows that the pay gap had been trending down from 2017, with a slight increase between 2019 and 2020. While the gender pay gap did not further worsen with the significant disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, progress on closing the gap has stalled. 

This report includes an analysis of the gender pay gap by industry and occupation using WGEA gender equality reporting data. It shows that women are more likely to work in lower paying industries, and men who join those industries are more likely to be in higher paid, managerial positions.

The industry analysis finds significant differences across industries in relation to closing the gap, gender segregation, and representation. Women in feminised industries face barriers to achieving wage parity, with gender pay gaps above the national average and underrepresentation in promotions and key management positions.

The glass ceiling continues to prove a significant challenge. The analysis shows the impacts of gender discrimination, lack of promotional opportunities and underrepresentation in management are most prevalent at top management levels. Women in the top 20% of income earners experienced the largest gender pay gap.

Through quantifying the drivers of the gender pay gap, the report provides employers with the information they need to affect change. The findings of this study provide crucial knowledge that can help government and business take action and build on the progress that has been made.

Read more: Key findings and download the full report