Sunday Herald Sun

Family care roles mean women still hitting too many pay walls

- MELANIE BURGESS

WOMEN forced to juggle full-time work with care-giving roles are hitting their peak salary earlier than men — and topping out at $239 a week less.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed women aged 35 to 44 and working full-time earned a median weekly income of $1500 (about $78,000 a year) — their highest-earning age bracket.

Men, on the other hand, averaged $1700 at that age and continued to climb salary ranks until averaging $1739 a week (about $90,500 a year) at age 45 to 54.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency engagement executive manager Kate Lee said there were a combinatio­n of factors at play.

“Men still dominate leadership positions across all industries (and) there is a point that women are having more time out of the workforce with kids and babies while men are hitting the point where they are getting more senior roles and taking off on that trajectory,” she said. “Men and women also do quite different work. We have quite a gender-segregated workforce and female-dominated profession­s have lower pay. “If you compare the wages you might attract in a finance role compared to aged care and childcare, those roles are quite different.”

Ms Lee said there may also be an element of unconsciou­s bias against women when promotions become available as employers question women’s commitment once they have children.

“(Women) have the penalty of being a primary carer with child-rearing, then within the next 20 years they have the greatest burden of elder care and looking after ageing and sick parents, too, so they are hit with a double whammy,” she said.

Ms Lee said WGEA data showed a worrying trend of “gender equality fatigue” as some organisati­ons put equality policies to one side during the disruption of COVID-19 “in favour of other business imperative­s”.

Although the portion of employers conducting a pay gap analysis increased last year, the portion who took action as a result dropped by 6.1 per cent. It was the first time that figure had declined since WGEA records began in 2013.

Recruitmen­t agency Randstad national diversity and inclusion lead Kerry McQuillan said some organisati­ons let diversity and inclusion policies fall by the wayside last year, but they were becoming a priority again.

“Diversity and inclusion has been, for some companies, a nice ‘add on’ … so a lot of companies that had that mindset did drop a lot of their initiative­s,” she said.

WE HAVE QUITE A GENDERSEGR­EGATED WORKFORCE AND FEMALE-DOMINATED PROFESSION­S HAVE LOWER PAY

KATE LEE

BERLIN: Birkenstoc­ks have stepped into the luxury league, with an LVMH-backed company and the French group’s billionair­e owner snapping up the iconic German brand.

The sum paid by equity firm L Catterton and Bernard Arnault’s family fund Financiere Agache was not revealed, but analysts put the price tag at around €4bn ($A6.3bn). “For the next 250 years we need partners sharing the same strategic and long-term vision as the Birkenstoc­k family,” said brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstoc­k, who will retain a stake in the company.

The ownership switch marks a watershed for the company, founded in 1774 to make orthopaedi­c shoes.

The flat sandals were given a boost when they were brought to the United States in the 1960s. They were adopted by hippies, who took to their no-frills comfort and saw their utilitaria­n look as an anti-fashion badge.

When supermodel Kate Moss wore them for a fashion shoot in 1990s, it ended the brand’s “unfashiona­ble” associatio­n with sock-andsandal wearing Germans.

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