Progress On Gender Equality In Public Sector

Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has released a new scorecard on progress in the Commonwealth public sector towards gender equality.

The report, which is an Australian first, looks at the actions public sector employers are taking to drive gender equality and to highlight areas that need improvement.

Minister for Women and the Public Service, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, said the Albanese Government is focused on improving equality for women and the Commonwealth public sector should be a model employer.

“Earlier this year we published private sector gender pay gaps for the first time, now we’re shining a light on progress in the public sector on gender equality.

“The private sector has been reporting to WGEA for a decade – now the Commonwealth public sector has stepped up and reported as well. The public sector should set a standard for promoting gender equality and WGEA reporting is a key part of that.”

The scorecard shows:

  • The average gender pay gap for the Commonwealth public sector is 13.5% compared to 21.7% in the private sector
  • The public sector has achieved gender balance in every level of management
  • Almost all employers have a flexible working policy, and most promote flexible work

However, there is more work to do:

  • An imbalance around parental leave persists, in 2022, only 11% of primary carer and universally available parental leave was taken by men
  • Women are more likely to be represented in occupations that are lower paid
  • Employees who are full-time are more likely than part-time employees to be promoted. In 2022, only 8% of manager roles were part-time and only 4% of promotions went to part-time employees

“This scorecard shows that the average gender pay gap for the Commonwealth public sector is 13.5% compared to 21.7% in the private sector, but there is more work to do. For example, we know we need to encourage stronger up take of parental leave by men, and part-time workers should not be overlooked for promotion,” Minister Gallagher said.

“Positively, the public sector has achieved gender balance in every level of management as a result of setting targets and our focus on achieving them.”

Public sector reporting to WGEA was a recommendation of the Respect@Work Report. Following legislation introduced by the Albanese Government, Commonwealth public sector employers with 100 or more employees are required to submit gender equality reports to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). This includes PGPA Act Commonwealth entities and companies(link is external), the data also includes Australian Defence Force employees and as a result differs from the previously released ASPC data.

The scorecard is available on the WGEA website(link is external).

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