Gender pay gap

Exploring the Gender Pay Gap Using Integrated Data

The gender pay gap is the difference in average salary between men and women. This gap is usually presented with women’s earnings as a proportion of men’s. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency Australia’s gender pay gap is 14.1 per cent1.

There are already several sources of data to measure the gender pay gap. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency collects gender pay information through a census of businesses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics collects information from business about what they pay their staff as well as collecting information from individuals about their earnings2,3.

Integrated data provides a unique opportunity to provide detailed insight. Existing approaches provide headline figures, but do not provide the detailed picture. Integrating detailed data from a range of government organisations allows researchers to examine pathways and transitions for different population groups.

We used the Multi Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) to break down the gender pay gap in 2011.4 MADIP combines demographic information from the Census with annual salary information from the Australian Tax Office, in addition to other datasets. We used MADIP to combine information on all wage and salary earners in Australia to calculate the gender pay gap and the variations within industries and professions.

Based on analysis from the Central Analytics Hub (CAH) some of the key findings about the 2011 gender pay gap include:

  • There are only two instances where women on average have higher pay than men who work in the same industry and do the same job. There was a gender pay gap in favour of men in 178 of the 180 combinations of industry and occupation. Women had a higher average pay than men only when they worked as machinery operators and drivers in the health care and social assistance industry and professionals in the ‘other services’ industry.
  • The largest wage gap was for female clerical and administrative workers in the mining industry. Female employees earned 47 per cent less than their male counterparts.
  • Women who work in industry and occupation combinations with a high percentage of female employees have lower salaries. CAH found that occupation and industry combinations with a high proportion of women had a lower average full-time salary for all workers. Examples of these combinations are teachers in the education and training sector and sales workers in the retail trade sector.

1 Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2019, Australia's Gender Pay Gap Statistics

2 ABS, 2019, Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, Nov 2018 (cat. no. 6302.0)

3 ABS, 2019, Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2018 (cat. no. 6306.0)

4 Only MADIP 2011 was available for this analysis, a follow up study using MADIP 2016 is underway