Measuring must lead to better management of gender pay gap

Measuring must lead to better management of gender pay gap

January 22, 2016

The State Services Commission’s (SSC) release of state sector agencies’ gender pay gap statistics, by department, clearly shows where the problem lies said EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue.

“What we measure we can manage,” Dr Blue said in response to the SSC’s release of the gender pay gap broken down by government department for the first time. In the past, SSC has published the average pay gap across the state sector, without the breakdown by department.

“Making these figures publicly available means accountability through transparency,” said Dr Blue. “What SSC’s chief executive Iain Rennie now needs to do is sit down with each of his chief executives and ask them what they have in place to redress the gender pay gap imbalance in their department."

“What we do know is that leadership by the chief executive makes the difference. Unless the system intentionally includes women, they will be unintentionally excluded.

“The overall labour market gender pay gap is 11.8 percent (up from 9.9 percent in 2014) and the overall gap in the public service is 14 percent, and almost a third of department have gaps of over 20 percent. Our publicly funded government departments should be leading by example.

“Publicly releasing this data needs to lead to a narrowing of the gender pay gap along with other actions such as keeping women connected to the workplace while on parental leave, supporting women returning to work at the same level they left at, flexible work practices and addressing unconscious bias in the workplace."

“Women also need to back themselves more and upskill to become better negotiators.”

Dr Blue also noted that pay equity claims (equal pay for equal work) will have a significant impact by revaluing work, particularly in traditionally female-dominated jobs.


Further information: 

You can read the 2015 Human Resource Capability in the New Zealand State Sector Report here. Tables 4.3 and 4.4 control for factors including role and seniority. 

Page 34 of the Human Resource Capability in the New Zealand State Sector Report

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Posted by New Zealand Human Rights Commission on Thursday, 21 January 2016

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