The median Australian female worker is taking home $18,461 less than their male counterpart, new firm-level pay figures have revealed.

Released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency on Tuesday, pay comparison data for all employers with 100 or more staff has demonstrated the stark split in workers’ pay packets between men and women.

Nationally, the median male worker makes $96,945 while the median female worker earns 19 per cent less at $78,484.

The revelations follow tough new rules introduced by the Albanese government last year that require mandatory reporting of company remuneration data.

Among the businesses with 5000 or more employees, airline Virgin Australia reported the most significant pay discrepancy with a gap of 41.7 per cent, while its rival Qantas Airways reported a 37 per cent difference.

When comparing the big four banks, CBA reported the most significant gender pay gap of 29.9 per cent, while Westpac had a 28.5 per cent gap, ANZ 23.1 per cent, and NAB disclosed an 18.8 per cent difference.

Australia’s major supermarkets fared far better on disparities between male and female remuneration, below the national average, though still not a parity.

Woolworths reported the median male employee was paid 5.7 per cent more than the median female employee, while Coles recorded a 5.6 per cent difference.

Fast food retailer McDonalds reported no difference between its male and female median worker.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ritchies supermarkets and liquor stores reported the median female worker was paid 25 per cent more than their median male colleague.

The pay disparities reported by WGEA are calculated by comparing median total remuneration of female and male employees, which accounts for base salary, superannuation, overtime, bonuses, sales commissions and other non-financial benefits.

Part-time and casual salaries are converted into annualised full-time equivalent earnings.

According to WGEA analysis, less than one-third of employers (30 per cent) have gender pay gaps that WGEA considers neutral, meaning they do not significantly favour women or men.

Of the remaining businesses captured by reporting requirements, 62 per cent of median employer gaps were described as “in favour of men”, where the pay for the median man was more than five per cent more than the median woman.

Just eight per cent of businesses were “in favour of women”, where the pay for the median woman was more than five per cent higher than the median man.

The WGEA data does not capture the salaries of chief executives, head of business, casual managers and staff who were laid off during the reporting period.

Pay data figures for some firms stood in stark contrast to their public advocacy for women’s empowerment.

Despite running a “social change movement” that “champions equality and opportunity for women and girls”, beauty products giant Mecca reported that the median male employees earnt 10.3 per cent more than median female counterparts.

Athletic apparel retailer Lorna Jane, who markets its vision as “empowering women, transforming the world”, pays its median male employee one-third more than its median female staff member.

The WGEA analysis also showed significant variation in the gender pay gap across different industries, ranging from the construction sector where the median employer gender pay gap is 31.8 per cent, while the accommodation and food services industry as 1.9 per cent on the same measure.

WGEA chief executive Mary Wooldridge said the time for talk and excuses on the gender pay gap was over.

“Particularly for those employers whose gender pay gaps are higher than their industry peers, publication of the results today is a catalyst for action and change,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“Change takes action and employers need to double down on ensuring all employees are fairly represented and equally valued and rewarded in their workplace.”

Separate data which will delineate the share of employees by gender at each company by income quartile will be published by WGEA later on Tuesday.



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By Rahul

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