Pay Equity New Zealand

New: Dunedin Pay Equity Action Group

You’re invited to join the newly formed Dunedin Pay Equity Action Group

The group provides information on the Gender Pay Gap in New Zealand including facts and figures.

Pay Equity Fact #1

According to the NZ Ministry for Women, in 2016, the gender pay gap was 12%.

From the Ministry for Women Miniatanga Mō Ngā Wāhine

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is a high-level indicator of the difference between women and men’s earnings. It compares the median hourly earnings of women and men in full and part-time work.

In 2016, the gender pay gap was 12 percent. The gender pay gap has reduced since 1998 (16.3 percent), but has stalled in the last decade. The table at the bottom of this page shows the levels since 1996.

In March 2017, the Ministry for Women released the research, Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand, which looked at the causes of the gender pay gap in New Zealand.


The causes of the gender pay gap are complex. In the past, a substantial proportion of the gender pay gap was due to factors such as differences in education, the occupations and industries that men and women work in, or the fact that women are more likely to work part-time. We now know these factors only explain around 20 percent of the current gender pay gap.

The majority (80 percent) of the gender pay gap is now driven by what the research calls “unexplained” factors. These are the harder to measure factors, like conscious and unconscious bias – impacting negatively on women’s recruitment and pay advancement – and differences in men’s and women’s choices and behaviours.

Pay Equity Fact #2

Pay and employment equity benefit women by reducing women’s reliance on income support, improving their working and retirement incomes, increasing their capacity to make repayments on any student loan or other debts, and helping them to make contributions to their retirement savings.

Many female workers in New Zealand work in occupations that are more than 80% female and these female-dominated occupations tend to be lower paid. Women are under-represented in higher-level jobs.

The gender pay gap is a high level indicator of the difference between women and men’s earnings. Factors that contribute to the gender pay gap are:

  • the jobs women do: while there are some notable exceptions in New Zealand today, women are more likely to be clustered in a narrow range of occupations and at the bottom or middle of an organisation
  • the value put on women’s jobs: the skills and knowledge that women contribute in female-dominated occupations may not be recognised or valued appropriately in comparison to other jobs
  • work arrangements and caring responsibilities: more women combine primary care giving with part-time work, which tends to be more readily available in lower paid occupations and positions. This limits women’s access to better paying occupations and positions.

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