A report released today by the Ministry for Women has found that the difference between the earnings of men and women can’t be explained by differences in education, occupation and industry, or part-time work. Instead, 80 per cent of the gender pay gap is caused by “unexplained” factors like behaviour, attitudes and assumptions about women in work, including unconscious and conscious bias.
The new report, conducted by researchers at AUT, is the first to comprehensively delve into the factors behind the pay gap in over a decade. It debunked many of the excuses used to explain the pay gap, finding so-called “traditional drivers” to only be responsible for 20 per cent of the disparity.
The report found that while women’s qualifications had increased since 2003, their higher levels of education have had little impact in reducing the pay gap. “Women’s higher levels of qualifications should be reducing the gender pay gap,” Margaret Retter, the Acting CEO of the Ministry for Women said in her foreword. “However, the research suggests that these qualifications are not fully reflected in wages.”
The report also found that the gap varies across the wage distribution, with large pay penalties occurring at the top end of the scale. “There is clear evidence pointing to a glass ceiling effect in NZ,” the report concluded, essentially proving what women have long suspected.
The full report can be found on the Ministry for Women’s website.