Male accountants are paid a staggering 40-50 per cent more than their female counterparts, according to member survey results released today by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).
The 2021 Remuneration Study surveyed more than 4,500 CA ANZ members, revealing an average pay gap of around $50,000 in Australia and $60,000 in New Zealand.
CA ANZ Chief Executive Officer Ainslie van Onselen said it’s a concerning result.
“This survey has revealed some uncomfortable truths. As accountants, we trust the numbers, and while our profession is paid well, these figures paint a challenging picture for women in accounting over the life of their careers,” Ms van Onselen said.
The survey also found a pay gap perception problem between men and women. Nearly seven in 10 women believe a gender pay gap exists, compared to just three in 10 men.
“This disconnect suggests more work needs to be done to change the perception of pay discrepancies in the industry, as almost 70 per cent of male respondents don’t think this issue exists,” Ms van Onselen said.
The annual survey confirmed men hold most of the senior positions in accounting, suggesting an unconscious bias behind the gender pay gap and its reality.
The survey found women make more career sacrifices for their families too, with almost 50 per cent of women taking career breaks for parental care or care for others, compared to just 20 per cent of men.
“Our research shows that women generally take longer career breaks to care for kids or others. The average is almost two years. Most women believe this has a significant impact on their career progression opportunities.
“This is where direct action such as the introduction of flexible work policies are important. They are proven to ensuring women progress into senior positions and narrowing the gender pay gap.”
“Today we are challenging all accounting professionals and employers to not only acknowledge the gender pay gap, but to take action.
“We are committed to taking an educative approach, forming action plans for our member base and tracking our progress every year.
“These results are incredibly disappointing and without change we fail to acknowledge the equal work women do in our profession.”
There are many steps companies can take to help close the gender pay gap. These include:
- Greater pay transparency
- Annual pay gap analysis reports (like this survey)
- Analysing performance ratings versus pay
- Having senior leaders champion and action change.
Other findings from the report include:
- All members have seen a 4.5-5 percent increase in their remuneration, especially among younger members, which is a positive sign amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A fair pay environment and learning opportunities are critical to attracting young professionals as they care greatly about these factors.