Of course, the scary sounding Workplace Gender Equality Agency should never have been established but I guess the government needed to give some jobs to feminist types who missed out on the Emily List kick into parliament. But seriously, the quality of its work is a joke. Take this reference from a feminist who clearly has no understanding of statistics or the workings of markets, Ann Summers.
WGEA has done us a great service in compiling and publishing these figures. In the past, we only knew of these discrepancies when individual professions publicised them. For instance, a few years ago the Law Council of Australia revealed that in NSW male law graduates were paid $70,300 in 2007 while women received only $63,500.
Now we know that law is one of the better professions when it comes to pay equity. As reported this week by WGEA, female law graduates suffer only a 7.8 per cent gender penalty. Women architects face a 17.3 per cent discrepancy while dentists’ pay lags behind men’s by 15.7 per cent.
You would never know that under Australian law women and men are meant to receive equal pay.
Now perhaps we should give her the benefit of the doubt as to when she penned this rubbish, but the organisation that actually collected these figures – the Graduate Careers Council of Australia – had to issue a clarification. It turns out the WGEA was talking through its hat and completely misrepresenting the figures.
(There have been doubts about the GCCA figures for years – they deal with only recent graduates aged 25 years and under and there are very low response rates, particularly in some fields, to the survey. There is no account taken for different hours of work and no hourly rates of pay are constructed. In other words, pretty much not worth the pieces of paper on which it is printed.)
A FEDERAL government agency has oversimplified data about graduate pay, resulting in the misrepresentation of gender pay differences, Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) says.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) said the gender pay gap for young university graduates had more than doubled last year, from $2000 to $5000 a year. However, there was in fact no change and the gap remains at three per cent.
GCA policy and strategy adviser Bruce Guthrie said the agency had read data from its annual Australian Graduate Survey in a “overly simplistic” way.
“The researcher in question has missed some vital paragraphs in this fairly short document which would have explained a lot of the stuff we have had to clarify.
“It does happen. It’s happened before, it will happen again with various data sets. People get the wrong handle and think the story is simpler than it actually is,” Mr Guthrie told AAP.
He said a factor that contributed to the misrepresentation was that men tended to be over-represented in fields such as engineering.
“In addition, some of the larger wage gaps are observed in fields with relatively low response numbers, for example dentistry and optometry, which could make them unreliable.”
The piece by Summers is wrong on so many counts, it is embarrassing. She praises the decision to increase the pay of community service workers, which is completely unaffordable, even though virtually all of these service workers are women and the rationale for increasing their pay could not be sustained on ‘gender grounds’.
What Summers does not seem to understand is that the pay for a job is the same whether the successful canditate is a female or a male. This is completely consistent with differences in average pay between women and men. Women, for instance, are more likely to work in the public sector where there is a trade off for lower pay in exchange for job security.
One of the first actions of a Coalition goverment should be to abolish the ridiculous sounding and pointless WGEA.