The $50,000 gender pay gap among accountants, and the plan to change it

Ainslie Van Onselen gender pay gap

CA ANZ CEO Ainslie van Onselen. Source: Women's Agenda.

The Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) Remuneration Survey last year found the gender pay gap between men and women continues to exist within the accounting profession, with men out-earning women by an average of $50,000 per year in Australia, and $60,000 in New Zealand.

This massive pay gap has been measured despite more women than men entering the profession, and some figures noting more than 50% of accountants in the country are women.

But CA ANZ found the appetite for addressing the issue is strong, with 95% of respondents believing it is important for CA ANZ to address the gender pay gap.

This week, the organisation has launched a new guidebook aimed at business owners, executives, managers and employees to address the profession’s gender pay gap.

The guidebook, Narrowing Your Gender Pay Gap, is a 34-page resource with best-practice case studies, how-tos on implementing gender pay gap reporting and solutions, and myth-busting facts and data.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,”CA ANZ CEO Ainslie van Onselen said on the release.

“We are still in the early stages of our work on this issue, but we are determined to be vocal, to track and to fix this issue as part of our broader strategy for accounting to be a more diverse and inclusive profession.”

“There is a war for talent in both Australia and New Zealand and firms that address gender pay gaps and develop inclusive career pathways will be in a much better position to secure the talent they need to thrive.”

The organisation’s general manager of member engagement, Joe Consedine, believes the discussions being had after the release of the 2021 Remuneration Survey are reflected in the playbook.

“There were some really frank conversations after we published the results of our last Remuneration Survey, which are reflected in the playbook answering the hard questions, rebutting myths and providing an action plan,” he said.

“The power of this playbook is that it’s practical, concise, and contains guidance that can be used every day. It draws on the challenges our members have faced, and the changes they’ve made to address them.”

The guidebook features case studies from companies including Xero, Sharesies, Deloitte and the Australia Securities Exchange (ASX).

“As a society we’ve seen a lot of innovation in product development, manufacturing, and marketing, but not so much in people strategies,” Consedine added.

“Travel restrictions are only aggravating labour shortages, so now is the time to innovate in how we retain and attract talent.”

“It’s going to take new thinking to create new career pathways that reward the skills and experience of women, but as shared in the playbook, every workplace can do it and they will be better off for it.”

“What we’re hearing from our members is that closing the gender pay gap is not only the right thing to do, but there’s a strong business case for it.”

“By creating inclusive career pathways, you attract a much wider talent base, who bring a variety of skills and perspectives to give businesses the competitive edge. It’s just plain good business sense.”

The guidebook comes a week after the Workplace Gender Equality Agency data revealed more than 85% of employers still had pay gaps that favour men.

Last December, a survey conducted by Intuit QuickBooks and Momentum Intelligence into gender equity in the accounting industry found that 43% of men disagree with the statement that there is a gender pay gap in the accounting profession.

The survey also found that more than half of women believe their progression towards leadership has been impacted by some form of gender bias, while 80% of men said they had not experienced any form of gender bias in their pathway to leadership.

You can read the Narrowing Your Gender Pay-Gap guidebook from CA ANZ here.

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.


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