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04 Sep 2021

Construction’s Gender Pay Gap Among Nation’s Worst

Construction’s Gender Pay Gap Among Nation’s Worst

The construction industry has the country's second-worst gender pay disparity, which is widening across all industries.

In the construction business, which was slightly behind the finance and insurance sector, women earn $36,361 less per year, or 26.1 percent less, than their male colleagues.

Across all industries, women must labour 61 additional days per year to earn the same amount as men.

The pay difference has expanded by 1% in the last year, according to Kristine Scheul, chair of the National Association of Women in Construction.

Women in construction face challenges such as discrimination in hiring, low starting salaries, and the maternity penalty, according to Scheul.

“For many women working in construction, we must work at least another month more before we catch up with our male colleagues,” she said.

“It is little wonder that the industry is finding it challenging to recruit women and even if they do, having them stay.

“Why would women want to stay in an industry where it appears they are not valued as highly as their male colleagues.”

However, Australian property group Mirvac, with female chief executive Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz at the helm, claims to have a $0 pay difference between its more than 1400 male and female employees.

In its annual gender pay parity study, the corporation has documented a $0 disparity in the average like-for-like gender pay gap for the sixth year in a row.

“We report regularly against our targets for the number of women at Mirvac represented at all management levels and in our talent pipeline, including 50/50 recruitment shortlists for senior leadership roles,” Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

“We have an ongoing investment in women’s mentoring programs and pay close attention to our gender pay parity analysis, where we have maintained a zero pay gap for like-for-like roles for the past five years.”

In Equileap's Global Report on Gender Equality, Mirvac is ranked second in the world and first in Australia and Asia Pacific.

Scheul urged the construction industry to investigate the gender wage disparity and begin making changes from the ground up.

While most prejudice against women is inadvertent, she believes that failing to address it is just as destructive.

“The association is seeking to break down why our industry is finding it so difficult to increase the number of women participating in the industry and then assist women and industry to resolve those issues holding them back,” Scheul said.

“Recognising that there is an issue in the construction industry is one thing, actively working out what to do about it is another.

“We want to see a change in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s scorecard on the gender pay gap. At the very least, it will be a positive step towards achieving our goal of 25 per cent women in construction by 2025.”