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Office for Women

Equal Pay

Pay equity means equal pay for work of equal or comparable value, regardless of gender.

The gender pay gap measures the difference between women's and men's average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men's earnings. This is calculated by using Australian Bureau of Statistics' Average Weekly Full-Time Earnings data (cat. No. 6302.0)

The national gender pay gap is currently 15.3% and has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades.1

Equal Pay Day marks the date of the additional time women would have to work on average since the previous financial year to make the same amount as men. In 2017 Equal Pay Day falls on 4 September 2017.

Lower wage rates mean lower lifetime earnings for women. The gender pay gap has implications for women's financial security, particularly in older age.

The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of interrelated factors, including:

  • stereotypes about women and men's roles and the way women and men 'should' engage in the workforce
  • women and men working in different industries and different jobs. Historically, female-dominated industries and jobs have attracted lower wages than male-dominated industries and jobs
  • a lack of women in senior positions, and a lack of part-time or flexible senior roles. Women still undertake most of society's unpaid caring work and may find it difficult to access senior roles
  • women's more precarious attachment to the workforce (largely due to their unpaid caring responsibilities)
  • differences in education, work experience and seniority
  • discrimination, both direct and indirect.2

SA Public Sector Pay Gap Analysis

In March 2016 the South Australian Government committed to undertaking a gender pay gap analysis of the South Australian
Public Sector. This is the first comprehensive attempt to quantify a gender pay gap for the South Australian Public Sector.

This analysis was undertaken by comparing base salary data of public sector employees held by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment. Data for the last three years (at June 2014, 2015 and 2016) was reviewed to consider a historical perspective and eliminate irregularities in data for any single year.

As at June 2016, the gap between men and women’s salaries across the South Australian public sector was $13,473 per annum in favour of men, a gender pay gap of 15 per cent. This is down from 17 per cent in June of the previous year.

The Analysis found:

  • The difference in average salary for men and women is heavily influenced by compositional and occupational factors.
  • There is a higher number and proportion of women in low to middle-income brackets and a higher number and proportion of men in higher income brackets, which drives the overall difference in average salary.  This is consistent across agencies.

The Gender Pay Gap Analysis is the first step in providing agencies the opportunity to develop comprehensive strategies to address the gender pay gap across Government. The critical step in taking action to address and improve pay equity is to review the data and understand what is driving any gender pay gaps. A more detailed analysis of the agency data will now be undertaken, which will allow strategies and actions to be targeted to address the specific causes of the gap in each organisation.

The gender pay gap will continue to be monitored through the Office for the Public Sector’s annual collection of workforce information.


More information:


  1. Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Gender Pay Gap Statistics August 2017, accessed 24 August 2017.
  2. Workplace Gender Equality Agency, About pay equity,, accessed 24 November 2014.

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Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
Last Updated:
16 May 2017
Printed on:
24 Jun 2018
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