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Are female bankers underpaid?

Senior women in Australia earn 50% less than their male counterparts, according to a Federal Government report. Is the same true in banking?

No – at least not according to Bob Olivier, a director at the Olivier Recruitment Group in Sydney. He says the report’s findings astonished him. “My experience is that clients won’t offer a job to Julie rather than Steve to save on salary. It might be that if women work fewer hours maybe remuneration is pro-rata’d down. I can’t believe women working in identical jobs would be paid up to 50% less.”

The Equal Employment for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) analysis also revealed senior women hold just 7% of the Top Earner positions (80 positions out of 1,136), compared with 93% held by men.

EOWA director Anna McPhee says, “It is clear that pay inequity starts in a woman’s first job and puts her on the back foot for the rest of her career”.

Financial services recruiter Luke Heath, chief executive of Chandler Heath, says he can’t confirm the wage gap, but that as a general trend, female employees across nearly all careers aren’t as active in promoting their achievements as men.

“I believe women in the workforce are more modest than men and as a consequence, in some roles and sometimes, they aren’t compensated as well as they could be if it was based on pure merit,” he says.

To sidestep wage bias, Heath counsels women to be mindful of their achievements and broadcast them assertively to managers. “They should also be aware of their market value and negotiate politely but firmly on that basis,” he says.

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