ABS data: Mining and utilities dominate Australia’s highest-paying industries as gender pay gap persists

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Australia’s highest paying industries have been revealed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) through a recent report, which has also unveiled the size of Australia’s gender pay gap.

The ABS’ Employee Earnings and Hours report for May 2018 has revealed the pay, hours and industries of over 10 million Australian workers, comprising of 49.9% men and 51.1% women. Overall, workers were mostly aged over 35.

Of that cross-section, the average weekly total cash earnings was $1,288.70, however, when broken down by gender, it was revealed women workers were earning on average $500 less than men, with averages being $1,053 and $1,525 respectively.

Seventy-five per cent of men were full-time workers, with an average age of 41.1 years. But just 45.4% of women were full-time employees, earning about $300 less than their full-time male counterparts.

Graph Image for Average Weekly Total Cash Earnings, Employment status, May 2018

Graph Image for Average Weekly Total Cash Earnings, Employment status, May 2018. Source: ABS.

The ABS also shone a light on the highest-earning industries in Australia, with the mining industry coming out streets ahead of other industry categories, with an average weekly total cash earnings of $2,674.80, which was followed by workers in the electricity, water, gas and waste services, who had average weekly total cash earnings of about $1,900.

The lowest-paid industry was the accommodation and food services industry, with an average weekly pay of $616.20, which represented 7.5% of all workers.

Graph Image for Average Weekly Total Cash Earnings, Industry, May 2018

Graph Image for Average Weekly Total Cash Earnings, Industry, May 2018. Source: ABS.

Rafael Moyano, chief executive of recruitment agency Adecco Australia said the data showed a “stark contrast” between workers salaries when broken down by gender.

“Tellingly, the industries that pay the highest salaries — namely mining, along with electricity, gas and water waste services — are dominated by men, while the lowest — accommodation and food services — are dominated by women. Recruitment and education policies that actively seek to fix this gender imbalance are needed to improve pay equality,” he said.

“Women are also heavily skewed towards part-time work, with less than half opting for full-time — reflecting the fact that women statistically take on most family duties. To change this, companies should be encouraged to offer more flexible options for both genders, to allow a more equal division of labour outside the workplace.”

Furthermore, small businesses with fewer than 20 employees employed 22.3% of all surveyed workers, and the highest rate of average pay was in Canberra, and the lowest in Tasmania.

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