YWCA head praises “incredible” employers

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A prominent equal pay advocate has praised Kiwi employers and their “incredible” initiatives but says there’s still a long way to go before New Zealand achieves full workplace equality.

“Through the YWCA Equal Pay Awards, I have the privilege of seeing information that is submitted from organisations and I see incredible examples of companies really striving to do the right thing,” says Monica Briggs, CEO of the YWCA Auckland.

“They’re not just addressing equal pay, they’re ensuring they have leadership targets for women, they’re tackling discrimination and bias, they’re developing their female talent pipelines and they’re creating policies to make sure women aren’t disadvantaged when they enter the workforce or when they return following a career break.”

While Briggs says there is no shortage of companies “walking the talk” and making meaningful strides towards equality, she says there’s still significant room for improvement.

“There is still a very real pay gap – the average was 13.6 per cent last year so we know there’s still a hell of a long way to go,” she says.

Last year, it was revealed that there were no women in the pay survey of chief executives in the top 50 NZX listed companies and private sector boards in New Zealand only had 17 per cent representation of women.

“That is just one small indicator but it really highlights the urgency needed and the further work that is required,” says Briggs. “New Zealand knows it’s got a gap and needs to do more to accelerate the speed to close that gap.”

Although some companies are throwing their weight behind equal pay and fair opportunities, Briggs says there are still too many employers taking a back seat.

“We believe that many businesses are unaware of the role that they can play in the current gender gap issue and we encourage all of them – large or small – to run thorough pay audits,” she says.

“That means actually looking at all of the data – not just base pay – then cutting and dicing it in different ways to ensure there isn’t pay gap in the organisation.”

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