Gender pay gap now 12 percent

The New Zealand gender pay gap has risen to 12 percent (as measured by median hourly earnings as at June 2016 from the New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS)). Men’s median hourly earnings have gone up by $0.93 (3.9 percent) to reach $25 since last year, while women’s earnings have gone up by $0.77 (3.6 percent), to reach $22.

The gender pay gap has been reducing over time. However, any gender pay gap is unacceptable and improving women’s economic outcomes, which includes reducing the gender pay gap, is a priority.

There are ‘explained’ and ‘unexplained’ factors that lead to the gender pay gap. 'Explained' factors have included occupational and industry segregation (female-dominated occupations and industries tend to be lower paid than those dominated by male employees), vertical segregation (where there are a higher proportion of men than women in senior higher-paid positions) and part-time career choices principally based on the amount of unpaid and caring work undertaken by women. The ‘unexplained’ portion is generally considered to include unconscious bias and discrimination, which negatively affect decisions about recruitment, remuneration and career progression of women.

Equal pay for equal work is already provided for in New Zealand legislation. Closing the gap requires sustained, collective action over time from employers, business leaders and employee groups as well as the Government.