Gender Pay Gap
South Australia has always had a strong progressive history. On 18 December, 1894 South Australian women were granted the right to vote and stand for Parliament - this was the first legislation in the world of its kind.
With the concerted efforts of formidable women such as Muriel Matters and Mary Lee South Australians acknowledged, over a century ago, the importance women play in public life.
From the suffragettes to the women’s movement of the 1970s and beyond, much has been gained for women’s participation in paid work, leadership, government and sport but there is much more to do.
SA-BEST will make women’s participation in the workplace a priority.
While women comprise the majority of public sector employees, they continue to be underrepresented in executive positions in the South Australian public sector.
The effect of this is that formidable, hard-working women are being underutilised and held back from achieving their full potential especially in senior leadership roles. With that is the loss of mentoring that women in executive roles provide to younger women.
SA-BEST will make the advancement of women in senior leadership roles in South Australia a priority.
At the current rate, it will take us a century to close the gender pay gap. We need to fast-track this.
A State Government study in 2016 (‘A Gender Pay Gap Analysis – of the South Australian Public Sector’) found that South Australia has the lowest gender pay gap in the country but this discrepancy is larger in the public service where some men are paid up to $43,000 more on average than their female colleagues. This is despite women making up nearly 70 per cent of all state public servants.
The Study’s findings include:
- South Australian male public servants are paid on average $13,473 more than their female colleagues – that represents a 15 per cent pay gap. This is unacceptable and well above the SA average of a 9.8 per cent gender pay gap in the private sector.
- The largest gender pay gap is amongst medical officers where men earn a whopping 21% more than their female colleagues.
- Male emergency services workers make 11% more than their female counterparts.
The gender pay gap has implications for women's financial security, particularly in older age.
Taking time out of the workforce to raise a family can no longer be used as a justification for holding women back and paying them less.
We need to close this gap as a priority and ensure that South Australian female public servants and indeed all female employees are not undervalued and underpaid.
To achieve this SA-BEST will seek a thorough independent inquiry to report within 12 months. The purpose of the inquiry will be to:
- establish the extent of the gender pay gap;
- make recommendations aimed at ensuring the gap is closed as soon as practicable and, in any event, within the term of the next parliament.
Women apprenticeships and traineeships
There is a 27.4 per cent gender pay gap in construction and there is a 26.7 per cent gender pay gap in technicians and trade. A 2015 report by Quay Connection found that women make up less than 10 per cent of total applicants for traditional trade apprenticeships while few employers consider taking on female apprentices.
We need to breakdown long standing stereotypes. SA-BEST is committed to doing this by offering incentives to employers to offer female apprenticeships and jobs. This is particularly important given critical skills shortages and would obviate the need for 457-type visa workers coming into Australia.