Financial and insurance services has continued to hold the highest gender pay gap of any Australian industry at 27.5 per cent, according to new government data.
The government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has released its data for pay equity across industries for 2019-20, revealing that although the financial services has kept the largest full-time gender pay gap, it has narrowed its divergence from last year’s 29.3 per cent and it has fallen each year from 2013-14.
The Finance Sector Union however blasted the slight improvement, noting it had done nothing to "recognise the army of women working retail banking who have stepped up during COVID, despite personal risk".
FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said closing the pay gap would not be difficult for the sector, describing it as a matter of having the will, establishing priorities and making a plan.
"It is morally corrupt that the finance industry, with its very deep pockets keeps winning the prize for the largest gender pay gap," Ms Angrisano said.
"Our economy can't wait until 2050 for the pay gap to close, we need employers to step up and do the right thing for their workers and the economy."
The national total remuneration gap across industries is now 20.1 per cent, a small drop year-on-year from its previous 20.8 per cent. On average, Australian men are taking home $25,534 more each year than their female counterparts.
However, access to parental leave improved for the first time in the seven-year dataset, with more 52.4 per cent of employers now offering paid primary carer’s leave (up by 3 per cent). There was also an increase in paid secondary carer’s leave, up by 2.6 per cent to 46.4 per cent.
Women now comprise 39.9 per cent of all managers, with 44.7 per cent of manager appointments in the past year going to women. Meanwhile at the top levels, female chief executives increased slightly, up by 1.2 per cent to 18.3 per cent, while representation on boards was up by 1.3 percentage points to 28.1 per cent.
Finance leadership roles dominated by men
In financial and insurance services, despite the workforce comprising more female workers (54.3 per cent of the sector’s staff), only 10.3 per cent of CEOs were women.
Less than a third (30.8 per cent) of key management personnel were women and 27 per cent of board directors were female.
The majority (80.8 per cent) of employers in the sector offer paid primary carer’s leave however, for both men and women.
Most employers (76.6 per cent) in the industry appeared to be aware of their pay gap, having conducted a pay equity analysis, above the overall average of 46.4 per cent across sectors. Around seven in 10 financial and insurance services companies (69.5 per cent) had taken action as a result of their remuneration gap analysis.
In superannuation funds in particular, the full-time pay gap was 19.8 per cent. There was more female representation in the higher ranks, with 20 per cent of CEOs being female, alongside 40.7 per cent of key management personnel and 42.7 per cent of directors.
Organisations in the sector that reported to WGEA included large established players such as AMP, AustralianSuper, Challenger, BNP Paribas and Citi.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].