CEW celebrates new era of gendered data transparency, calls on all employers to set gender equality targets

Media release: CEW celebrates new era of gendered data transparency, calls on all employers to set gender equality targets

Chief Executive Women (CEW) has welcomed the publication of gender pay gaps for every individual Australian employer with 100 or more employees, calling for all Australian businesses to set gender equality targets to increase women’s representation at every decision-making table. 

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has today published every employer’s median pay gap and revealed the current national median total remuneration gender pay gap is 19 per cent. 

CEW chief executive Marie Festa says the public release of this data marked a new era for corporate leadership, providing companies with yet another impetus to invest in gender-balanced CEO and executive talent pipelines. 

“The WGEA data shows us that across every industry in Australia, the median of what a woman is paid is less than the median of what a man is paid, in both base salary and total remuneration, and regardless of whether they work in a male or female dominated industry,” she says. 

CEW has long been calling for 40:40:20 gender targets in leadership teams, and the WGEA data clearly shows that employers with gender balance in their key management personnel were 50 per cent more likely to have a neutral gender pay gap. 

“A low pay gap is a key indicator of women’s workforce participation and economic security — two things that are essential to the strength of the Australian economy.” 

Public benchmarking provides an impetus to improve company outcomes 

A wealth of research, including from WGEA and Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, has found gender-balanced leadership teams are more likely to deliver higher profits, have lower risk profiles and find it easier to attract and retain talent than those that do not. 

Ms Festa says the new benchmarking tool will help employers, boards and investors improve company performance by inspiring action. 

“From today, the public availability of this data provides another impetus for leaders to take deliberate action to tackle persistent and unacceptable gender pay gaps. This is a wake-up call for Australian companies,” she says. 

“CEW calls on companies to set 40:40 gender balance targets with real accountability and transparency, invest in CEO and leadership team pipelines that have an equal representation of men and women, and be ambitious to build inclusive, flexible and respectful workplaces that foster women leaders.” 

“Australia is becoming a world leader in gendered data, and we commend WGEA and the Federal Government for taking this important next step to enable all stakeholders to track a company’s progress and hold its leaders to account. For example, investors should use this data to drive a race to the top and invest in companies with gender-balanced teams and neutral gender pay gaps.” 

CEW calls on the Federal Government to unlock women’s workforce participation 

Earlier this month, CEW published its 2024-24 Pre Budget Submission, calling for the Government to turbocharge the economy through a suite of policy settings that will unlock women’s workforce participation, including implementing universal early childhood education and paying superannuation on Commonwealth-funded Paid Parental Leave. 

The recommendations have been supported by several reports including the Productivity Commission’s Review of Early Childhood Education and Care, the ACCC Childcare Inquiry 2023, and the University Accord Report. 

CEW’s complete list of immediate policy recommendations can be found here. 

Media Contact:

Jesse McCarthy-Price 
E: jesse@cew.org.au 
M: +61 429 160 550