With the obligatory publication of gender-based payroll data for all Australian businesses with 100 or more employees, the food and beverage industries now have a clear understanding of the work needed to achieve pay parity.

From Tuesday 27 February, all Australian businesses with over 100 employees are obligated to provide the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) with data on their gender pay gaps (GPGs), with close to 5,000 Australian private sector employers pay disparity being made public for the first time.

It comes after the Albanese Government’s reforms passed Parliament last year, a key driver for employer action to speed up progress to close the gender pay gap in the workplace. That data is now freely available.

According to the WGEA Data Explorer, in the Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing industry, women make up 34 per cent of the total workforce, with the average total remuneration gender pay gap sitting at 13.4 per cent, and the median total remuneration gender pay gap sitting at 7.4 per cent. The biggest pay inconsistencies in the industry are among technicians and trades workers, machinery operators and drivers. Sixty-eight per cent of employers in the industry had undertaken a payroll analysis, and 87 per cent took action as a result of that analysis.

In the Food and Beverage Services industry, the average total remuneration gender pay gap is 6.8 per cent, with the largest pay gap discrepancies occurring in management levels. It also found that just over a third of employers in the industry had undertaken a payroll analysis, and 29 per cent of those employers took action based off their analysis.

Both industries results firmly outperform national averages, with Australia’s average total remuneration package GPG sitting at 21.7 per cent. Both in the national picture and in the two industry subsets, the wage gap has slowly been closing since 2013-14.

Senator Katy Gallagher, the Minister for Women, said the publication of employer gender pay gaps is a pivotal moment for gender equality in Australia.

“The release of employer gender pay gaps marks a historic step towards transparency and accountability in addressing gender inequality.

“The gender pay gap is a persistent and complex problem that costs the Australian economy $51.8 billion every year.

“Transparency and accountability are critical for driving change. By shining a light on gender pay gaps at an employer level, we are arming individuals and organisations with the evidence they need to take meaningful action to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in Australian workplaces.”

Other equity factors

The WGEA Data Explorer not only covers gender pay gaps, but also looks at other workforce features that effect equity, including workforce and board compositions, paid parental leave, and employer policies and strategies.

As an advocate for improving equity and diversity in the workplace, Lion – which has an organisation-wide gender pay gap stands at 1.4 per cent, with a median total remuneration GPG of 8.4 per cent for its Australian-based team members – has welcomed the  publication of the WGEA data, which has revealed that the beverage company has almost achieved pay parity organisation-wide.

Lion’s DEI leader Sarah Abbott, welcomed the publishing of the data: “At Lion we firmly believe in doing the right thing for the long term.

“Our impressive track record in closing the gender pay gap has been achieved through a range of robust company-wide initiatives supporting gender representation at all levels, including Women in Leadership Targets across all Business Units,” Abbot said.

In 2016, Lion initiated a comprehensive pay gap analysis and took immediate action to rectify discrepancies in ‘like for like’ roles, which delivered a $5.5 million pay rise to more than 1,600 team members.

In 2019, it also became one of the first companies to ban questions to job candidates about their salary history in an effort to tackle the gender pay gap.  

The company also removed primary and secondary carer labels from parental leave provisions, providing an equal platform for both parents to participate in the first year of their child’s life;  and superannuation is paid on a portion of the unpaid component of parental leave, further promoting gender-neutral family support.

National, industry-wide and company-specific data can be viewed in the WGEA Data Explorer.

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