Gender Pay Gap Narrows

New Zealand’s gender pay gap is closing, according to figures from Statistics NZ.

The gender pay gap was sitting at 9.2 per cent in the June quarter of this year — the second-smallest gap recorded in around 20 years.

In 2012 the gender pay gap sat at 9.1 per cent, the lowest recorded, and last year was about 9.4 per cent.

Figures show it is the second year in a row median hourly earnings for women, on wages and salaries, increased faster than for men, up 3.2 per cent compared with 2.9 per cent.

“Since 1998, the gender pay gap has been trending down. It’s fallen more than 40 per cent,” Sean Broughton, labour market manager at Statistics NZ, said. “While the gap has closed over the past 20 years, on average, women are still paid less for an hour’s work than men.”

The gender pay gap is smaller for people aged under 30. The largest gap is for workers aged between 50 and 54, at a whopping 18.4 per cent.

The gap in pay is smallest for those aged between 20 and 24 years old, recorded this year at 0.9 per cent. For those aged between 25 and 29 the gap is 4.2 per cent.

For those aged 15-19 the gap sits at 2.4 per cent.

The gender pay gap is smaller for full-time workers compared to part-time workers, recorded at 7.9 per cent for full-time workers, a decrease on last year, and 11.1 per cent for those working 20 hours or fewer a week.

Strategic Pay chief executive John McGill said the decrease in the gender pay gap in the June quarter was a “small but positive difference”.

“It’s a move in the right direction but I wouldn’t get too excited about it,” McGill said.

“If we see that trend continue for another year or two I’ll say ‘yep, it’s definitely moving down’.”

McGill said he believed New Zealand was moving towards the end of the decrease and it would become hard for the gender gap to reduce further.

More women would need to be employed in male-dominated industries, such as science and engineering fields, for the gap to be abolished, he said.

He said women taking time off work in their 30s, often to start a family, played into the gender pay gap, one of many reasons women were on an uneven keel to their male counterparts.

“A lot of organisations are now retaining close contact with people who leave for a year and maintain their pay. However if you choose to leave your employment for three to five years it’s much more difficult.”

McGill put the 18.4 per cent pay gap for people aged between 50 and 54 down to career progression stalling when parents take extended leave from work. 


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