Vote Compass: What Kiwis think about private companies disclosing pay of males and females for the same work

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The latest Vote Compass results have shown Kiwis' thoughts on the requirement for private companies to disclose how much female and male employees are paid for the same work, with an academic saying the findings "highlight how easy it is for society to reinforce inequality". 

The minister for women promises the government will work up a plan to close the gender pay gap.

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The findings are based on 224,368 participants of Vote Compass from August 20, 2017 to September 18, 2017.

So far 435,458 people have completed the online election tool.

VOTE COMPASS pay gap overall

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Despite the majority of responders agreeing private companies should disclose how much male and female employees are paid for the same work (57 per cent, compared to only 25 per cent who disagreed), the results between male and females were starkly different. 

Senior Research Fellow at AUT University Dr Lisa Chant said gender pay disclosure was more popular with females (70 per cent of women agreed, compared to 42 per cent of men), with more males against the idea than females (36 per cent of men disagree compared to 14 per cent of women). 

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Senior lecturer at University of Auckland Dr Danny Osborne said the results showed that "without going against the current norm and disclosing pay differences, inequality will go unchallenged".

This is in relation to the gender pay gap in New Zealand. 

"Women seem to recognise this, yet men are trying to reinforce the status quo of not discussing pay."

He said the issue of the gender pay disclosure was "intimately connected" with the Vote Compass question of gender equality in parliament

When the results were broken down into genders, it showed 41 per cent of men disagreed with MP gender equality, with only 21 per cent of women disagreeing with the question.

Flipped around, 40 per cent of women agreed with MP gender equality, compared to only 19 per cent of men. 

"Women are likely picking up in the inequity in politics, whereas men may be using a gender-blind ideology to justify their position (I.e, 'I don't see gender; I just want the best person')," Dr Osborne said.

"In reality, this gender-blind ideology just maintains and reinforces inequities between men and women."

However a male who completed Vote Compass and was against gendered pay disclosure of private companies said he would be for the idea "if there is an independent assessment team from government that audits businesses", or if companies revealed the percentage of pay between genders rather than the actual pay figure. 

Another male who disagreed said there could be a government "committee that looks into it for pay gap", but pay details shouldn't be made public knowledge.

Dr Chant said other areas of interest in the gender pay disclosure results was the similarities of young (18-29) and older (65+) voters, both the highest age groups in favour at 62 per cent with disclosing how much male and female employees are paid for the same work.

VOTE COMPASS pay gap age

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The differences between income earners also provided insight into the disparity of voters' views. 

VOTE COMPASS pay gap income

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"The majority of over $60k income earners said no, but those earning less than $60k had 62 per cent saying yes," Dr Chant said.

Complete the Vote Compass tool. 

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in New Zealand exclusively by TVNZ. The findings are based on 119,845 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from August 20, 2017 to August 30, 2017. Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by gender, age, education, religion, occupation, and Maori descent to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of New Zealand according to census data and other population estimates.

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