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Human Resources

How does the new gender pay gap data measure up across the pharma, medtech and diagnostics sectors?

Health Industry Hub | February 27, 2024 |

Human Resources: The gender pay gaps of nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers has been published for the first time. This initiative follows the successful passage of Labor’s reforms in Parliament last year, serving as a catalyst for employers to amplify their commitment to closing the gender pay gap.

Senator Katy Gallagher, Minister for Women, emphasised the significance of this report, stating “The release of employer gender pay gaps marks a historic step towards transparency and accountability in addressing gender inequality.”

Minister Gallagher underscored the persistent and complex nature of the gender pay gap, which costs the Australian economy a staggering $51.8 billion annually.

“By shining a light on gender pay gaps at an employer level, we are arming individuals and organisations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces,” she added.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has played a pivotal role in this endeavour by publishing base salary and total remuneration median gender pay gaps for private sector employers with 100 or more employees. The results revealed a nuanced landscape:

  • 30% of employers exhibit a median gender pay gap within the target range of -5% and +5%.
  • 62% of median employer gender pay gaps exceed 5% and favour men.
  • The rest (8%) are less than -5% and in favour of women.
  • Across all employers, 50% have a gender pay gap of over 9.1%.

Deep diving into the data, the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation holders like AstraZeneca, demonstrate a commendable median total remuneration gender pay gap of -2.9% in favour of women.

Although not current EOCGE citation holders, Merck Healthcare, Sanofi, Viatris, Eli Lilly, Amgen and Roche Diagnostics are also noteworthy for their gender pay gap performance. Merck Healthcare is tracking at -12.1%, Sanofi at -13.5%, Viatris at -6.6%, Eli Lilly at -1.5%, Amgen at 2.2% and Roche Diagnostics at -2.4%, all falling within the target range (-5% and +5%) or leaning favourably towards women.

Turning to private hospitals, both Ramsay Healthcare and Healthscope exhibit praiseworthy median total remuneration gender pay gap of -9.5% and -11.8%, respectively.

WGEA CEO Mary Wooldridge lauded the progress made by one-third of employers, whose gaps are close to gender parity.

“All employers should be aiming for a gender pay gap within +/-5%,” Ms Wooldridge urged, emphasising that this range allows for normal business fluctuations while indicating a commitment to identifying and addressing inequalities.

The median total remuneration gender pay gap among other EOCGE citation holders include AbbVie at 9.5%, Baxter at 8.8%, Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies at 9.5%, Medtronic at 10.8%, and MSD at 9.9%.

Ms Wooldridge highlighted the pivotal role of these published results, especially for employers with higher gender pay gaps than their industry peers, as a catalyst for meaningful action and change.

“The time for talk and excuses is over,” Ms Wooldridge declared. “Change takes action, and employers need to double down on ensuring all employees are fairly represented and equally valued and rewarded in their workplace.”

Overall, the median women’s earnings each year are $18,461 less than men’s – or 81¢ to every $1.

Companies’ gender pay gaps are available on the WGEA website.

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