2017 Women in Work Index places NZ pay gap at 6%

Each year, PwC releases a Women in Work Index which assesses women in the workplace across 33 OECD countries. This year, New Zealand was placed 4th by the Index, just behind Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

What the report says

The Women in Work Index puts New Zealand’s pay gap at 6%, one of the lowest in the OECD, and shows that we have one of the highest rates of women in the labour force, with a participation rate of 74%.

However, despite these positive figures, the report forecasts that it will take us 39 years at the current rate to close this gender pay gap—at which point New Zealand’s Equal Pay Act would be an elderly 84 years old.

And in terms of social and economic prosperity, this gap continues to cost us money. The Index calculates that if we were to increase our female labour force participation to Sweden’s 80%, we would grow our GDP growth by a whopping $US10billion.

All things go to show that even a so-called small gap is too big—and in order to best recognise the value that gender equality presents to our society and economy we need to take bold steps to redress this gap.

You can read the whole report on the PwC website.

Why the difference in figures?

Those familiar with research into New Zealand’s gender pay gap will notice the big difference between the Women in Work Index figures and the New Zealand Government figures, which place the gap at 12%.

This is a result of the different approaches to data used by Statistics New Zealand and the OECD. While Statistics New Zealand uses the median hourly earnings of all workers to calculate the gender pay gap, the OECD uses the median hourly earnings of full-time workers only. The YWCA Equal Pay report discusses some other ways the gender pay gap can be calculated.