ARA welcomes improvements in gender pay gap on Equal Pay Day

Australia’s largest and most diverse peak body for retail, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the continuing decline in the gender pay gap but highlighted the need to build on recent improvements to address pay inequity.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said results released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to coincide with Equal Pay Day on 25 August, are encouraging but show that women are still worse-off financially through the course of their working life, in comparison to men.

“The Australian retail sector is one of the largest private sector employers of women in the country, which is why the ARA is taking a leadership position in addressing gender inequality including the pay gap between women and men,” said Mr Zahra.

“Last week, WGEA reported that the pay gap for the retail sector is 13%. While this compares favorably in comparison to the rest of the economy at 22%, there is still more work to be done.

“We also know that there’s a gap between the number of women working on the shop floor and the number of women in senior leadership positions, which contributes to the gender pay gap.

“These factors drive longer term inequality, with Rest Super noting that women retire with an average of $289,179 in superannuation, in comparison to $359,870 for men,” said Mr Zahra.

Equal Pay Day signifies the gender pay gap in Australia, informed by recent research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that confirmed women need to work an additional 56 days (about 2 months) a year to make up the difference caused by the lag in wages between men and women.

“For leaders in retail, marking this day on social media calendars is not enough to make a difference. To continually reduce the pay gap, it’s imperative that we look at the data, identify the gaps, and address differences in pay through the annual budget cycle,” said Mr Zahra.

The ARA has been actively engaging its members through an Annual Gender Equality Symposium and has developed a Position Statement on Gender Equality outlining the steps needed to address imbalances between men and women, including the gender pay gap.

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