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Tackling The Gender Pay Gap Is A Gamechanger For Everyone

The gender pay gap is like a traffic jam: it's frustrating, slows down progress and affects everyone on the road. Clearing the path requires a coordinated effort and better planning.

In this piece, Kathleen Webber, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveRem, explores what a ‘gender pay gap’ means and how it’s measured, why it matters and how we can close the gap to boost business and make workplaces happier for everyone.

What does gender pay gap really mean?

Simply put, the gender pay gap is the difference in pay between what men and women earn and although the difference should be $0 - the ‘gap’ is ubiquitous across workplaces globally. New Zealand’s gender pay gap was reported to be 8.6% (2023); compared to 13.3% in Australia (2023).These are ‘averages’, but in reality the gap could be even wider for wāhine Māori, Pacific and Asian women, disabled women and mothers.

How is it measured?

A company’s gender pay gap is measured as the difference in average earnings between men and women and typically expressed as a percentage of men's earnings. This gap can be calculated using either mean or median earnings and can be adjusted to account for factors such as full-time versus part-time work, occupation, education and experience. By measuring both the uncontrolled gaps (raw difference) and controlled gaps (adjusted for various factors), companies can better understand the extent and sources of any pay inequality.

Why should we care?

It’s better business

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Here’s something cool: companies that focus on gender parity tend to knock it out of the park in terms of performance. Research from Diversity Council Australia found that organisations with gender diverse teams are 45% more likely to improve market share and have 70% more likelihood of capturing new markets. They're more innovative, more profitable, and just plain better places to work for. Plus, businesses with happy, well-paid employees see less of that dreaded turnover.

It’s the right thing to do

Beyond numbers, this is about fairness. The gender pay gap can lead to a lifetime of financial setbacks for women, affecting everything from retirement savings to economic stability. Closing the gap helps break the cycle of poverty and builds a fairer society. According to the New Zealand Ministry for Women, closing the gender pay gap could increase women’s earnings by $5 billion annually.

Economic smarts

Closing this gap isn’t just a nice thing to do—it’s smart economics. Think about it: when women earn less, they spend less, and that affects the whole economy.

How do we fix the problem?

Shine a light with data

Knowledge is power and data is its trusty sidekick. Companies should be diving into their pay practices, checking out where the gaps are and fixing them. Real-time salary data, like what we offer at LiveRem, can be a game changer in making sure everyone’s getting a fair shake.

Interestingly, perception is often at odds with reality.

In a recent poll run by LiveRem, 33% of respondents thought there was a gender pay gap issue at their place of work, 58% thought there was no problem, and 8% didn’t know. LiveRem’s data on gender pay gap (as at 22 May 2024) suggests that all companies in the LiveRem dataset have a gender pay gap. What’s more, the average pay gap is 22.98%. Some are doing better than others, with the company with the best average pay gap having a small 3% gap.

Policy power

Workplace policies on parental leave, flexible working and career development for women can really help level the playing field. These aren’t just perks—they’re must-haves for any modern business.

We have spoken with companies who have implemented policies such as ensuring both male and female candidates are interviewed for every role. Jonathan Morgan, Co-Founder & CTO of LiveRem, experienced the benefit of this first hand when he started implementing this policy in his former role at WayBeyond: “We interviewed people we would never have interviewed before, and placed some of the best talent we had as a result of this policy.”

Law and order

Governments need to step up, too. Laws that enforce equal pay, protect against discrimination and promote salary transparency can drive big changes.

Education and empowerment

Getting more female candidates to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is key to introducing them to career opportunities from a young age. Organisations such as Shadow Tech are doing great work in this space. Setting up mentorship programs and campaigning against gender biases can help reshape the future workforce from the ground up.

Lead the way

It all starts at the top. Business leaders should be setting clear goals for gender diversity, holding their teams accountable and championing a culture that celebrates diversity.

Using data insights to really understand and diagnose problems early on can help organisations be empowered to make real change. LiveRem provides insights that can help organisations identify the health of their organisation, including a gender pay gap tool and insight analysis that highlights differences in turnover between men and women.

Closing the gender pay gap isn’t just a win for women—it’s a win for everyone. It’s about economic prosperity, business success and creating a world where pay is based on what you do, not who you are.

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