What can individuals do?

At the Ministry for Women we are trying to help employers close their gender pay gaps. But we know it will take time before pay is fair across industries and within all organisations. Meanwhile, there are some things individual women can do that may help you to be paid fairly. There are several times in your career that are particularly impact how much you get paid. Here are some tips and resources that may help: 

Choosing or changing careers

Consider trying to work in an industry or occupation that offers higher pay and better career prospects. The Careers NZ Job Database has information for more than 400 career paths.

Look at which industries and occupations have smaller gender pay gaps using our online tool What’s My Gender Pay Gap . Bear in mind that some industries with large a gender pay gap still offer good pay and career prospects.

Jobs in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields are often well-paying, but tend to be dominated by men. We have a directory of providers of STEM training, check it out for some inspiration. Perceptions of what is “women’s work” start at an early age, so start engaging your daughters with career ideas from a young age. Children get information about careers from their parents and their friends. Use the Careers New Zealand website to support your advice. 

Applying for jobs

Consider characteristics and reputation of where you're applying. Organisations that report on their gender pay gap, or that have more women in management, may be better employers for women

Consider applying for jobs even if you don’t meet all the stated requirements. Research suggests women are more likely to see stated requirements as necessary, whereas many men apply for jobs even if they don’t meet all the stated requirements. 

Find out what you’re worth. Research shows ambiguous negotiations favour men and disfavour women so good information is important. You can ask your potential employer for a salary range. You don’t need to accept the first offer nor accept an offer straight away. Research suggests women are more effective in negotiating one someone else’s behalf. It may help to imagine the advice you’d give a friend or colleague for their negotiations. Or you could ask a trusted person whether they think the offer is fair. For some tips on how to get paid what you’re worth check out Careers NZ.

Caring for children

Women with children experience a “motherhood penalty”. That is, they are paid less per hour than women who don’t have children. Men don’t experience a “fatherhood penalty”. Women also take far more parental leave than men. If you have children and a male partner, consider sharing parental leave. Find out how partners can share in parental leave here.   

Women also work part-time far more often than men, and this also affects the gender pay gap. You might investigate whether both parents could reduce your work hours so you’ll both be able to spend more time with your children.

Some employers include people on parental leave in standard “cost-of-living” pay increases. You can ask your employer to give you a cost-of-living increase in pay so your pay is fair when you return to work.

Working in the public service

If you work for a public service department, your employer has committed to the Eliminating the Public Service Gender Pay Gap 2018-2020 Action Plan

What can men do to help?

If you want your women colleagues to be paid fairly, one of the easiest things you can do is ask your employer what their gender pay gap is. JustAsk advocates men and women asking “Are women paid the same as men in this organisation?”.