Social Science

Until the 22nd Century, Gender Equity will not be Fully Achieved Under Current Conditions

Until the 22nd Century, Gender Equity will not be Fully Achieved Under Current Conditions

On this International Women’s Day, there is encouraging news: women are currently ascending the management ranks more quickly than males.

In just two more decades, women will hold the same number of full-time managerial positions as males, if the current trend holds.

For lower-level managers, it could happen even sooner, perhaps in just ten to eleven years.

However, it is improbable that women will hold half of the executive roles until 2100. That’s right: until the turn of the 22nd century, 80 years away.

Projected dates women should achieve parity with men

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s five years’ worth of data has been analysed by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which has found that while the glass barrier that has kept women from obtaining high-level positions is thinning, the salary ceiling is still largely in place.

Male managers have access to a significantly wider and higher range of compensation across all management levels and industries than do female managers.

The top paid 10% of male mangers earn at least $600K in total salary, whereas the top paid 10% of female managers earn $436K, a difference of over $160K.

Which industry has the worst glass ceiling?

The highest salary disparity between men and women for top managers is seen in the real estate sector, where it is about 36%. When basic pay are compared, the real estate business has the fifth-largest disparity, after commerce, health care and social assistance, arts and recreation, and administrative and support services. Access to commissions and incentives is clearly a major motivator.

When total compensation is taken into account, retailing has the second-largest gap, with a difference of almost 35% between the top-earning male and female managers. The following three sectors have the biggest gaps: finance and insurance, health care and social assistance, and arts and recreation.

The gaps are so big that they actually seem to be reducing the proportion of women in management.

With the help of statistical modeling, we calculate that the gender pay discrepancies in management reduce the percentage of women in full-time management positions by an average of 9.9 percentage points and the percentage of women in part-time management positions by 7.9 percentage points.

Managerial gender pay gaps by salary and industry, 2018

What works best?

Further work using the Workplace Gender Equality Agency data gives the ability to uncover what works best in driving gender equity.

It’s clear leadership is key.

The share of female managers improves by an average of 8.6 percentage points when there is a female top executive.

Moving from all-male to gender-equal boards increases the proportion of full-time managers who are female by 7.3 percentage points and the proportion of part-time managers who are female by 13.7 percentage points.

Effects of company policies and characteristics on shares of female managers, 2018

Women must also advance if policies that help them balance work and family are to be implemented.

Combining them with accountability is important in making them work. We find flexible workplace policies are twice as effective at increasing the share of part-time managers if they are reinforced with reporting to the board.

When compared to workplaces that just provide access to the Australian government program, those that offer employer-funded paid parental leave programs covering 13 or more weeks have a 50% lower share of managers quitting during this time.

On-site childcare services help employers retain more female managers on paid maternity leave by approximately one fifth.

The findings of our analysis, like the findings of other reports in the series, make it abundantly evident that businesses have a variety of concrete initiatives at their disposal that might speed the transition toward gender equity in pay and advancement. Accountability, leadership, and the presence of women on boards are a few of them.

Companies must begin considering the return on their investments if they hope to recruit and keep the greatest employees.

However, some glass ceilings are proving more difficult to overcome than others, particularly when it comes to representation at the highest levels and wage parity.

To ensure that we don’t have to wait another 80 years until women are as likely to run enterprises as men, businesses need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change.