Gender Pay Gap Surveys

According to OECD Statistics for Full-time employees the global Gender Pay Gap Surveys data shows on average a 15.5% gap.

This includes nationally: USA 17.9%, UK 17.5%, Australia 18.0% and New Zealand 5.6%

The definition used is:
Full-time employees. The gender wage gap is unadjusted and defined as the difference between male and female median wages divided by the male median wages.

Reference: OECD Data

Gender Pay Gap Surveys

Gender Pay Gap Surveys

Most industries globally still have no idea how they are performing in the Gender Pay debate.

Sure, there are national statistics similar to the above that governments and other agencies publish. The media and news outlets feed on these general statistics but rarely investigate specifics. The statistics quoted above for the OECD are classified as information based on “Full-time Employees” only. There is limited reference to specific influencing factors such as Employment Role, Qualifications or Experience, Industry Variations and comparison of part-time employment situations.

If you are a little confused on the true facts of this debate don’t despair - so are we!

It would be beneficial to quantify the pay gap and the reasons for this gap within individual industries. The questions become:

  • What is the size of the pay gap in specific industries?
  • Do employment role, experience and qualification influence the pay gap?
  • Is there a gap based on gender opportunity as well as the pay?
  • Are we truly comparing ‘an apple with an apple’?

Even this brief reflection shows that there is plenty of room for more detailed analysis. There is scope for investigation based on roles/experience, individual companies and the impact of part-time versus full-time.

How Do We Benchmark Using Gender Pay Gap Surveys?

To start it is evident that there are many issues in play. It is possible that we may be dealing with several levels of ‘gap’ rather than just a single pay gap issue. Some concerns may be subjective whilst others more objective and are thus more easily quantified.

It is important that we identify the key issues that need to be considered. These areas may vary from industry to industry. Are they suitable to be benchmarked?

For example: there could be a perceived bias in the construction industry where there is male domination in terms of frequency of employment. The reality may be that fewer females who wish to work within that industry and hence a natural bias occurs. On the other hand, the veterinary industry may have many more female veterinarians and veterinary nurses. This bias may be because more females choose to become veterinarians and fewer males apply for veterinary nurse positions. Again, a natural bias may exist.

Clarification is required for:

  1. If both genders work in the identical roles and perform the same work is there a pay gap?
  2. Are employment role opportunities equal for both genders?
  3. Are both of these issues relevant in your industry?

Key Issues

Issue 1:  Is there a gender 'Pay Gap’ based on identical work performed?

Accurate benchmarking practice must ensure that evaluations are ‘comparing an apple to an apple’. If for example we compared an hourly rate for a doctor to the hourly rate for a cleaner then those viewing the results would scoff at the lack of logic and dismiss the results without a thought.
The fundamental principal of comparing ‘like with like’ must be applied in all benchmarking situations if results are to be accepted as being credible. This must also apply to Gender Pay Gap Surveys.

Issue 2:  Is there a gender 'Opportunity Gap’ in general employment?

This second issue will prove a little harder to benchmark by virtue of the fact that employment interview issues and promotion opportunities are considerably more subjective than the well documented action of actually paying employees.

Opportunity will vary enormously in each industry depending on many factors that are not always as well defined as the rate of pay and the role/experience in Gender Pay Gap Surveys.

The issue may impact on the overall Pay Gap on a global basis but it is a topic that would be better served by separate analysis.

Issue 3: Are the issues relevant in your industry?

Pay Gap Analysis for identical Roles/Experience is relevant in ALL industries. There is no doubt - it needs to be fully benchmarked!

The issue of Employment Opportunity will vary from industry to industry. It will depend on additional factors as described above.


Benchmarking for both Gender Pay Gap based on identical job roles/experience and Gender Opportunity Gap are topics worthy of benchmarking.

It would be more appropriate to perform them as separate benchmarking procedures due to the varying nature of the analysis.

Design for Gender Pay Gap Surveys

Gender Pay Gap Surveys based on identical Roles/Experience is a benchmarking opportunity that is topical, would provide valuable information to any employer or HR manager and one that is relatively straight forward for a Sponsor to implement.

A basic survey design may include:

  • All employees - not a selection of employees that may cause artificial bias
  • Gender – obviously required for this analysis
  • Standardization of Pay Rates – ideally using the actual hourly rate paid
  • Role/Experience – of each of the employees
  • Type of employment – full-time versus part-time versus casual.

If you would like to investigate the possibility of instituting a Gender Pay Gap Surveys in your industry please contact Benchmarking Solutions.

We have several templates available. Alternatively we can offer a fully customized benchmarking program if your needs are more specific.


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