Gender pay gap has remained 'relatively static' since 2017, new stats show

The gender pay gap had been getting smaller since the late '90s, but new figures show there's been almost no progress in the past two years with figures remaining "relatively static", according to Statistics New Zealand data.


The gender pay gap was 9.3 per cent in the June 2019 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

But despite little change, it's the third-smallest gap since the series began in 1998.

"While it has remained flat since 2017, the gender pay gap has been trending down since the series began in 1998, when it was 16.2 per cent," labour market statistics manager Scott Ussher said.

"When men's hourly wages and salaries increase at a faster rate than women’s, that leads to an increase in the gender pay gap. This year they increased at roughly the same rate."

Women's median hourly earnings from salaries and wages increased $0.75 (3.2 per cent) in the year to June to reach $24.50. While for men, the median increased $0.85 (3.3 per cent) over the same period to reach $27.00.

The gender pay gap shows the difference in median hourly earnings for men and women. Stats NZ uses the median value because it is less influenced by very high or very low earners than a mean average.

"The gender pay gap is a useful measure when trying to understand differences in pay between men and women, due to its simplicity, but this measure is limited - it doesn't account for men and women doing different jobs or working different hours," Mr Ussher said.

"It also doesn't account for personal characteristics that can influence pay, such as qualifications and age," he said, adding that the gender pay gap is smaller for people under 30 years old.

In the June 2019 quarter, the occupation groups with the smallest gaps were clerical and administrative workers (7.1 per cent) and labourers (9.7 per cent). The occupation groups with the largest gaps were professionals (16.7) and technicians and trade workers (16.2 per cent).

Clerical and administrative workers had the highest proportion of employed women at 73.5 per cent, while technicians and trade workers had one of the lowest at 20.4 per cent. Labourers had the lowest median hourly wage and salary earnings of all occupation groups.

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said today that, although static, the Government is working hard to close the gap.

“The last year saw has seen significant wage settlements for female dominated professions," she pointed out. "Both nurses and teachers received their biggest pay increase in a decade, with packages worth more than what they achieved in total under nine years of National.

“The Government has also boosted the minimum wage by $1.95 since taking office. Women make up 60 percent of minimum wage workers, so these increases have disproportionately benefited the female workforce."