Blog RSS
Border Background
  1. From pocket money to retirement income: how women are systematically paid less (and what you can do about it)

    March 8, 2016 by Alison Hill

    By Alison Hill

    Happy International Women’s Day. As it turns out, it could be a lot happier for women in the workforce.

    It starts young – inequality applies even to girls’ weekly pocket money, as reported by the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Gender Pay Gap over the Life Cycle report. Apparently girls start out with 11% less pocket money than boys and this continues with women graduates with a bachelor’s degree earning $1.5 million less over a lifetime than men with the equivalent qualifications.

    A report by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and the government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency released last week, Gender Equity Insights 2016: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap, outlines the following:

    • Women key management personnel (KMP) working full-time earn on average $100,000 a year less than male KMPs.
    • Gender pay gaps lead to significant earnings shortfalls for women across their careers. Women moving through managerial positions at the same pace as men, working full-time and reaching a KMP role in their tenth year, earn $600,000 less.
    • Male managers working in female-dominated organisations can expect to earn considerably more than their female colleagues.
    • More women on boards is associated with significant reductions in gender pay gaps.
    • Part-time roles are dominated by women and are significantly lower paid (on a full-time equivalent basis) than full-time roles.
    • Men consistently earn more additional remuneration than women. The average male ‘bonus’ premium is almost 8 percentage points for full-time workers, and is highest in the financial and insurance services industry, at 15 percentage points.

     

    Is it simply a case of gender pay gap = direct discrimination? The gap can be explained in part by differences in how men and women work, the industries they work in and their level of skills and experience. My own experience in publishing, a vastly female-dominated industry, is that average pay is low and many people work part-time and on short-term contracts.  The same goes for teaching and nursing, both overwhelmingly female dominated. The report tells us that a startling 75% of part-time workers are female.

    But the gender pay gap can also indicate more subtle bias within workplaces, where preferential treatment is given to certain workers for career advancement and pay. The report notes,

    ‘Gender pay gaps can be a sign of both direct and indirect biases, both of which are problematic for a number of reasons. They signal inequity in a society that has been built on the concept of a ‘fair go’. They result in poorer outcomes for women in terms of economic and personal freedoms. They impair and stunt economic growth for nations looking to remain competitive on a global scale. Furthermore, they represent a lost opportunity in human capital investment and potential.’

    So what can the average manager do?

    Employers generally don’t intend to pay men and women differently. Gender pay gaps are not good for staff attraction, retention or engagement. We know that gender equality is better for both individual performance and company productivity. But perhaps unintended biases are creeping into hiring, pay, promotion and performance decisions. A payroll analysis can uncover this.

    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Australian Institute of Management have produced a Manager briefing, Gender pay equity guide for managers, outlining steps that can be taken at each stage of the employment cycle to address unconscious biases and practices in the recruitment, promotion, performance and remuneration stages.

     

    Identifying the causes of gender pay gaps: Some quick tips for managers

    • Check your job descriptions. Are women doing similar jobs to men but with different job titles and pay?
    • Analyse starting rates in your team. Are these monitored by gender? If an employee starts on a higher rate, is this based on evidence and recorded, with reasons?
    • Compare the organisation’s pay rates to market rates. Are variations applied consistently? Or do lower rates favour roles dominated by women?
    • Check superannuation rates. Is the rate of employer-paid super consistent across levels? Are all employees, including those on parental leave, treated in the same way?
    • Investigate bonuses and discretionary pay. Is one gender more likely to be in roles that attract bonus payments? Is discretionary pay more likely to be paid in a traditionally ‘male’ role?

    Managers can show leadership on gender pay issues and are well placed to develop a plan to address them. It begins with finding and analysing the data, and then addressing the gaps and their causes. As the Manager briefing points out, ‘the removal of bias in pay and performance decisions requires a medium to long term strategy and cultural change’.

    Be in it.


  2. How to Ask for a Payrise (and how not to)

    May 24, 2011 by Jenna

    We’d all like more money. Some of us may even deserve it. 67% of respondents to last week’s online poll said they would like to ask for a payrise.

    But how do you go about it with any chance of success?

    The most obvious tip for the right way to ask for a payrise is to be able to justify why you deserve one. You have to prove your worth. It is unrealistic to think that a raise is warranted just by you doing the job – that is, after all, what the current pay level covers. And length of time at a company does not automatically entitle you to bid for extra money. You therefore need to give before you get, exceed goals and expectations, and build a reputation of success. 

    – Can you clearly articulate what you do, what you have learned, what value you add, where you go above and beyond the bounds of your job description?

    – Is the timing good, say, after a positive performance review, or when you have been allocated new duties and responsibilities that perhaps warrant a pay rise?

    – Is the company in good financial shape?

    – Have you been in your job for more than five minutes?

    The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts from someone in an excellent position to give advice in this area – our Managing Director, Elizabeth Varley:

    Do’s

    1. Prepare your case: get facts, figures and evidence as to why you deserve an increase and what you will bring to the role in the future.

    2. Compare your current salary: research the employment market using similar roles in similar companies as your benchmark.

    3. Put yourself in your boss’s position: how would this pay rise affect the salary parity of your co-workers?

    4. Be open minded to other solutions and benefit options: these can include flexible work hours, study assistance, career advancement opportunities, further investment in your professional development, etc.

    5. Give your boss advance notice: make sure that your boss has the time and is forewarned as to the nature of your discussion.

    Don’ts

    1. Don’t get emotional: keep the discussion on a business level.

    2. Don’t threaten or use arm-twisting tactics: this will only create the wrong impression and result in negativity and resistance.

    3. Don’t ambush your boss: make sure that your boss can give you the time and is in the right frame of mind for this discussion.

    4. Don’t expect too much: you might deserve a pay rise but your boss’s hands may be tied as to what they can give you.

    5. Don’t gossip: this is a private matter between you and your boss. Office gossip will only lead to negative outcomes and you could “shoot yourself in the foot” by blabbing to your colleagues about your intention and the content of your discussions. 

    If there is a no or an unsatisfactory outcome …

    What should people do if they are only given part of the raise being requested?

    – Politely ask whether the situation will be reviewed within the next 3-6 months.

    – Ask what responsibilities or professional development you could do to improve your chances for next time.

    – Re-emphasise to your manager how much you are enjoying working for your firm, and indicate what you plan to do to demonstrate your eagerness for personal growth.

    Also understand your organisation’s constraints; you may think you deserve it, but your company may not currently be in the position to offer you a raise or promotion. Are there any non-monetary benefits the company could offer? If not, and you feel you are consistently working beyond expectations without any prospects of reward in the next 6-9 months, it may be time to consider your options external to the organisation …

    [With thanks, as always, to the Challenge Consulting Team for their expert comments and suggestions!]




SUBSCRIBE Join Our Mail List
Border Background