Gender pay gap for community and health jobs widens to a record 48 percent

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 05:29 PM |

Gender pay gap for community and health jobs widens to a record 48 percent

Community and health jobs have the worst gender pay gap of any sector of the economy (click to expand)

Despite a long-running campaign to close the gender pay gap, the difference between what women and men are paid in Australia has grown over the last decade.

And the pay gap in the community sector is now the worst of any sector in the economy, with men in community sector jobs now earning almost 50 percent more than their female colleagues – a record pay gap for the sector.

New statistics released this week by the Bureau of Statistics show that across the Australian economy, men are now paid an average of 26 per cent more than women, up from 24 per cent a decade ago.

But in the “Health Care and Social Assistance” category, the wage gap has grown to a massive 48 percent, with women working full time being paid an average of $1180 a week, compared with full time male earnings of $1742 a week.

While part of the reason for this is that more men in the community and health sectors work in management roles while more women work in direct service roles, this doesn’t explain why the gender pay gap in the sector has consistently grown over the past 15 years.

In 1998 men in the Health Care and Social Assistance category were being paid only 21 percent more than women. But that gap now stands at 48 percent - the worst figure for any industry in Australia.

This gap affects women working across a range of ethical jobs from health and welfare to aged care, counselling and homelessness.

Having the nations biggest gender pay gap should be an embarrassment to the community and health sectors, which otherwise champion fairness and equity in society.

While many organisations are making an effort to promote more women into senior positions, these new statistics show that even if more women are doing senior jobs, they are evidently not getting senior pay packets.

Are you concerned about the growing gender pay gap in community jobs and the economy broadly? Tell us what you think in the comments below.