Most women are not working full-time during most of their working lives, according to data released on Monday, which puts them behind management positions and widens the pay gap with men.
Men have higher average earnings than women across all working age groups.
According to the Wages and Ages: Mapping the Gender Pay Gap by Age data series, less than 50% of women in each age group were full-time in 2021. It is issued by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, a federal government body. The data comes from private sector employers with 100 or more employees.
The difference in working patterns between men and women begins at age 35, when men are primarily working full-time and women mainly part-time or casually. Women after 35 are more than twice as likely to work part time and casually than men.
Men over the age of 55 are twice as likely than women to be in management.
Two-thirds of those women in management at the same age are in the lower ranks.
According to statistics, men also earn more than women in each generation at the workplace.
This gap is greatest at 55-64 where men earn more than women by almost a third (31.9%). It averages over $40,000 a year.
Even women in senior executive and CEO jobs age 55 and older face a huge pay gap—they’re earning an average of $93,000 less annually than their male counterparts.
The agency states that “more than 50% of women at any age were not working full-time in 2021, yet high-paying management opportunities were almost exclusively reserved for full-time workers. Across all age groups, 90%.” More than one manager was working full time.”
On average, companies with more part-time managers have more women at the executive level.
WGEA director Mary Wooldridge said that if the trends in the data continue, millennial women in the workforce now earn only 70% of what men earn by age 45.
“Millennial women in the workforce 35 and younger are currently accessing management at similar rates as men,” said Wooldridge. “We have a generation of Australian women who are highly educated, and the number of men in higher education enrollment and completion has increased over the past decade.
“If organizations want to unlock the potential that these women can provide after age 35, a change in the workplace structures around them is needed. Creative workplaces will reap talent rewards today and in the future.”
“Many employers are missing out on a huge talent pool by not encouraging and enabling women to work for extra hours or in managerial ranks,” she said.
He highlighted the importance of gender-neutral parental leave. Childcare subsidies and support, and flexible work policies.
“Leading employers are creating or redesigning roles to support part-time management and job-sharing structures,” said Wooldridge.