26 September 2023

VPS gender equality gap found to be 15.6%

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The first ever report on the state of workplace gender equality in the Victorian Public Service has been unveiled by the Commission for Gender Equality.

Commissioner of Public Sector Gender Equality, Niki Vincent said the Baseline report – 2021 workplace gender audit data analysis found the average pay gap between men and women in State Government Departments and Authorities, emergency services, councils and universities was 15.6 per cent.

“This means that, on average, men took home $19,000 more than women across the 2020-21 financial year,” Dr Vincent said.

She said around 300 of Victoria’s public sector organisations, employing more than 450,000 workers in total, participated in the Australian-first mandatory workplace gender equality audit.

“Women’s participation in the paid Victorian workforce increased substantially over the past five decades, rising from 43.8 per cent in 1978 to 62.3 per cent in June 2022,” Dr Vincent said.

“In public sector organisations 66 per cent of employees are women, but only 45 per cent of those in senior leadership roles were women and more than three in five chief executives were men,” she said.

“In comparison, in the private sector, Australia’s national gender pay gap was 22.8 per cent or $25,792 as calculated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.”

Dr Vincent said the Audit also found that women were significantly overrepresented in part-time and casual work, with 42 per cent of women working part time compared to 15 per cent of men; almost eight out of 10 parental leave takers were women, and their leave lasted an average of eight times longer than men’s; and women were 50 per cent more likely to say they experienced sexual harassment than men but rarely made a formal complaint about it.

In positive news, she said the gender composition of governing bodies across defined entities overall was largely balanced between women and men.

“Victoria now has the most comprehensive dataset on public sector workplace gender equality in Australia,” the Commissioner said.

“In line with the new Gender Equality Act 2020, which came into effect last year, organisations have used the information to develop Gender Equality Action Plans and must publicly report their progress every two years,” she said.

“The Act requires that material progress is made.”

Dr Vincent said this process uncovered gender inequality in the workplace and ensured employers were held publicly accountable for making progress towards equality.

The Commission’s 110-page Baseline Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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