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Female bosses earn less than their male peers

The gender pay gap is getting bigger in Australia, and top-tier female managers are worst off new research shows.

Senior female managers earn $93,000 less than their male counterparts each year, a 26.5 per cent gap. This is largely due to the discretionary pay which makes up a large portion of senior managers’ salaries.

For top-tier managers, nearly $40,000 of the annual difference in pay is made up of additional remuneration including bonuses.

Overall, the gender pay gap between full-time employees in the retail industry is 16.2 per cent, an increase from the 15.5 per cent gap documented last year.

The findings were reported by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as part of their Gender Equity Insights series.

The BCEC analysed 2015-2016 wage data submitted by over 12,000 Australian employers, capturing 4 million employees, or 40 per cent of all employees.

No matter the industry, the BCEC found women to be worse off than men when working full time. However, organisations with a balanced representation of women in senior leadership roles had smaller wage gaps than those with the least representation of women in leadership.

This presents some of the strongest empirical evidence to date that improved gender pay outcomes are driven by companies promoting greater gender equity in senior leadership roles, according to the report’s co-author and BCEC director, Professor Alan Duncan.

“Organisations that increased the share of women in executive leadership roles by more than 10 per cent between 2015 and 2016 recorded a reduction in the organisation-wide gender pay gap of 3 percentage points over the course of a single year,” Professor Duncan said.

On the flip side, when the management environment is heavily dominated by women (beyond 80 per cent), the gender pay gap among managers increases.

“It seems that where the men are few, they are more highly valued,” the report author and BCEC principal research fellow Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells said.

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