In comparison to other OECD countries, New Zealand has one of the lowest gender pay gaps. The most recent figures from the New Zealand Income Survey June 2014 quarter show a gender pay gap of 9.9 percent.
The gender pay gap is the result of a wide range of factors, including differences in the jobs men and women do (occupational segregation), labour force participation, work experience and ‘unexplained factors’. ‘Unexplained factors’ are believed to capture the presence of discrimination in the labour market.
Historically, women’s lower levels of educational attainment explained some of the difference in men’s and women’s employment outcomes. This is no longer the case, as women’s educational attainment now exceeds men’s. In spite of these gains, a pay gap for women remains, regardless of the level of qualification achieved, as the following graph shows.
Research conducted has shown an average income gap of 6 percent emerging between men and women just one year after university, increasing to an average of 17 percent after five years.
The gender pay gap matters because it impacts on the ability of women to support themselves and their families.