She's Price(d)less: The economics of the gender pay gap

She's Price(d)less: The economics of the gender pay gap

Despite recent improvements, gender pay gaps persist in Australia. Much attention has been dedicated to increasing awareness of gender pay inequity. However, there is little evidence about the factors driving the gap and how these have changed over time. Whilst the issues are complex, this evidence is critical in measuring progress and holding ourselves accountable for driving change.

Steven Casey

Partner, Policy, Programs & Evaluation

KPMG Australia

Illustration of gold coins balancing on a set of scales

Ten years on, the 2019 update of She’s Price(d)less: the economics of the gender pay gap builds on the evidence base of the 2009 and 2016 reports using data from the 2017 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.

The 2019 report examines changes in the factors that contribute to gender pay gaps. It uses an enhanced methodology that considers a wider range of potential drivers of factors on the gender pay gap and accounts for the possible effects of ageing in the HILDA cohort. It also highlights the potential impacts on the economy of closing components of the gender pay gap.

Critically, gender discrimination continues to be the single largest factor contributing to the gender pay gap, growing from 29 percent to 39 percent of the gap between 2014 and 2017.

Factors relating to family and care including years not working due to interruptions, part-time employment and unpaid care and work together account for a further 39 percent of the 2017 gender pay gap.

Industrial and occupational segregation continue to be a significant driver of the gender pay gap, together accounting for 17 percent of the 2017 gender pay gap.

Drivers of the gender pay gap

Drivers of the gender pay gap infographic

Note: The chart shows the contribution of the various drivers modelled to the gender pay gap between 2014 and 2017. A decrease in the contribution of a factor to the gender pay gap does not necessarily indicate that the value or nature of the underlying factor has changed, rather, that its significance in driving differences in pay has diminished. The 2014 results presented here are not directly comparable with the 2014 results reported in our 2016 report due to an expanded methodology and change in sample size.

Source: KPMG analysis of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, Wave 14, and Wave 17 (HILDA Survey).

2016 report

In preparing the 2019 report, an error was identified in the way that KPMG presented the results for part-time employment and industrial and occupational segregation in the 2016 report. The methodology and aggregate results remain unchanged. The full report includes an explanatory addendum.

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