According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data, the pay gap between the sexes seems to be widening.
In fact the pay gap between men and women has grown to its highest in 20 years. Given the strides we’ve made in empowering women as a nation these statistics are surprising, even baffling but it is believed this widening gap can be attributed to hefty salaries being paid to workers in the largely male dominated mining and construction sectors.
The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that on average men in full time work are paid nearly $15,000 more a year than women and for part time workers the gap is even wider because a higher proportion of women are in casual jobs.
According to an article on construction website Sourceable.net the construction and mining industries high salaries to its mostly male members is to blame.
In the article CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian was quoted as attributing the widening gap to the traditionally male dominated construction and mining industries. Sebastian also explained that while the mining sector was going through a slump, it is still the best industry and is made up predominantly of males.
“Now that the mining sector seems to be coming off, it’s more of a combination of mining and construction that are the best paid, the more male-dominated industries,” he said.
“To some degree, banking and finance as well – professional services.”
Another problem contributing to the widening gap is the “sluggish” growth in female dominated industries such as the retail sector. Industries such as accommodation, retail and food services are popular for female workers and the pay growth in these sectors has been slow over the years.
In fact Sebastian explained that people in the mining sector earned more than double what people in the retail sector earned. He also expressed his belief that the growth in the construction sector over the next few years would widen the pay gap even further. The article went on to explain:
he pay gap between men and women increased by almost eight per cent in the 12 months to May, the fastest pace in three years, the ABS data showed.
Average ordinary full-time gross earnings for men came in at $1,560.50 a week, while women earned $1,274.40.
Men in the mining sector earned $2,585.20, while women workers received $1,970.20.
While the construction and mining sectors have had an increase in female workers over the last few years, they are still male dominated fields. Young women are being encouraged to enter these industries and the excellent wages are one of the biggest draw cards.
While the construction and mining industries are booming and construction in particular is expected to continue expanding, these sectors are also extremely lucrative. Although the good wages and increase in opportunities have been attracting more young people and more women to these industries, they are also extremely challenging and high risk.
In order to learn how to handle these challenges and the risks, people entering the construction or mining construction sectors must first complete General Construction Safety Training also known as The White Card.