A recent study has revealed that 54% of Australians believe gender inequality is still an issue in the workplace.* This is in significant contrast and decline when compared to a study conducted in 2008 by The University of Canberra** that found that 88% of Australians agreed that gender inequality was a problem, demonstrating an improvement in public perception of this workplace issue over the past 10 years.

The data also revealed that 56% of men didn’t believe or weren’t sure whether gender inequality was still an issue, compared to 35% of females. The states with the most positive outlook were SA (Regional), where 67% of those surveyed said they didn’t believe gender discrimination was an issue in the workplace, and WA (Regional) and VIC (Metro) next with 62%.

Of those that felt gender inequality was still an issue, 42% said it was largely due to women being paid less than their male counterparts, 23% attributed it to men holding the majority of senior positions, 20% said men still dominated the workplace, 10% believed women aren’t progressed as fast as men, and 5% stated other reasons such as women being discouraged from pursuing a number of roles, and women being awarded roles purely to meet quotas.

Joint Managing Director of Citrus Group, Gordana Smith, says, “Whilst it’s clear that sentiment has changed positively over the last decade, and Australia is heading in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure all Australians are free from any workplace discrimination.”

The study went on to find that 59% of people believe that women are still being limited in certain industries, with the trade sector being the worst culprit (overall 29%), compared to the food industry, recruitment, real estate, insurance and pharmaceuticals industries, where only 1% believed there were limitations placed on females.

Interestingly, when asked about experiencing gender inequality individually, the commissioned research found that a large proportion of women (81%) said they hadn’t personally gone through it in the workplace. Of those that had experienced discrimination, 43% felt that they were not given the same opportunities as men, 28% stated they were not taken as seriously as men, 18% believed they were paid less in the same role and 11% stated other reasons, including feeling that they were overlooked for a role that was subsequently awarded to a male counterpart, even though they had more experience.

Despite the research revelations, the global move towards equality can be seen in not just attitudes within the workplace, but with regards to the gender pay gap too.

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, currently, Australia’s national gender pay gap is 14.6%*** the lowest level in 20 years. For the past two decades, it hovered between 15% and 19%. Broken down into states, WA has the highest gender pay gap at 22.4%, and the lowest is in Tasmania, where it sits at just 9.7%.

The roles with the biggest gap between men and women’s wages were in the finance sector, with a 26.6% gap. The lowest was found in the public administration and safety spaces, where the gap was shown to be 5.8%.

Gordana Smith adds, “In our area of recruitment, we tend to be very female-led. And as a company, we focus on ensuring women hold senior positions, as well as offering equal pay to men and women in the same roles that we hire for. Additionally, we ensure that we offer a safe place to voice any feelings of inequality that may arise, something that we feel strongly can eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace.”


*Research was conducted and analysed by The Digital Edge Research Company. The data is based on analysis of over 1,000 Australians responses in September 2018. The ages used for this study were 18 – 57+ years old and consisted of a mix of both male and female respondents.