Your job and the gender pay gap

SA-BEST's priorities include:

  • a continued focus on gender equality in the workplace, particularly on reducing the gender pay gap and the disproportionate number of women in insecure work;
  • re-introducing the Gender Equality Bill 2021 in the next Parliament to ensure public sector targets and accountability;
  • supporting the promotion and expansion of jobs programs to reduce the high rate of youth unemployment (currently 7.3%), including a boost in the numbers of young people in trainee positions and apprenticeships;
  • supporting government financial initiatives to incentivise businesses to employ, train and maintain new staff;
  • continuing to shine a spotlight on wage theft and support legislative initiatives aimed at reducing its prevalence; and
  • supporting initiatives aimed at business and industry for the creation and maintenance of jobs, particularly in our regions. 

South Australia again holds the unenviable title of having the highest unemployment rate in the nation. 

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures (December 2021), our unemployment rate sits at 4.8% - compared to the national rate of 4.2%. 

As we enter the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of new jobs MUST  be a top priority. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many small businesses hard, with restrictions wreaking havoc on most sectors from hospitality to tourism and many in between. 

98% of businesses in South Australia are small businesses, employing 36% of the workforce. 

SA-BEST recognises the importance of supporting the small business sector for the ongoing maintenance and creation of jobs. 

We are fully supportive of financial incentives aimed at assisting small businesses, including the continued availability of grants, and will advocate on behalf of the sector for the support it needs. 

875,300 of the South Australian population are workforce participants, made up of 449,500 men and 425,800 women. 

And while these gender workforce participation rates are similar, the devil is in the detail.

The proportion of women in insecure work is overwhelmingly disproportionate – not just in South Australia but throughout Australia. 

41% of women participating in the workforce in Australia are in full time employment compared to 67% of men, meaning part time and casual roles are more likely to be filled by women. 

The repercussions of secure work favouring men has meant the COVID-19 pandemic has hit women the hardest. 

The gender pay gap is unacceptably wide. 

Women in Australia earn on average $7.72 for every $10 earnt by men – an average of $25,800 less per annum. There are also far less women in decision making positions. 

Women leave their positions at a far higher rate than men, more often than not only to be replaced by a male. In some professions, such as IT and the legal profession, upwards of 50% of women are likely to exit their chosen field by the middle of their career compared to their male colleagues who go on to reap the rewards of promotions. 

Less than one in five CEOs are women, as are one in three Board members. 

Wage theft continues to be a contemporary issue impacting many workers. 

In 2021, business owners were fined $870,000 for wage theft and denials of entitlements. Of course, these are just those who were caught and prosecuted. 

SA-BEST supports legislation aimed at protecting workers rights and entitlements.