1 Studying and applying for jobs

In 2016, a new indicator was added to the Commission’s Tracking Equalities tool, which tracks hourly wages on the basis of educational qualifications. It shows the wages of people rise significantly when they achieve a Level 4-7 certificate or diploma post-secondary school and continue to rise significantly with attainment of a Bachelors and postgraduate qualification.

When data is broken down into gender and ethnicity the differences in median hourly wages are even more marked. For example, a European man with a postgraduate qualification earns $47.53 per hour and a Pacific woman with a postgraduate qualification earns $30.81 per hour.

Some of this inequality is due to the types of qualifications women are obtaining, for example qualifications in social sciences and education which have less earning potential. Research by the Ministry of Women showed that girls and women need to be actively encouraged to take STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects to boost their earning potential.

Careers NZ and MBIE have compiled some helpful indicators for people wanting to know what their earning potential will be. You can check them out here:

Compare Study Options Look at your occupation outlook

“I think about some of the men that I’ve worked with, who were like “I got offered that job and I asked for way more money…and I got it!” and I’ve always been to scared to do that. There was something that I couldn’t get past and I was too ashamed to really fight for it because I was too scared to be cut down.”

What are your experiences when applying for jobs – did you count yourself out of the running because you felt there were a couple of skills you haven’t yet mastered?

Have you sought advice from friends about roles that you are thinking about applying for?

Are there things that you would like to learn to help you know what roles you should be applying for?

Any advice or suggestions?


2 Pay negotiation

Pay differences exist in both the broader labour market and the public service in New Zealand. Men are paid more than women, European New Zealanders are paid more than other ethnic groups, and disabled people have lower incomes than non-disabled people.

The majority of people on the minimum wage are young people and are more likely to be women. In fact, 67% of people on the minimum wage are women. Since 2014, there has been a four percent rise in the number of women under 25 on the minimum wage since 2014 to 52.7%.

Compounding factors result in increased inequality for some groups. For example, there is a significant difference in median hourly pay rate between European men and Pacific women of $7.10 per hour.

A recent study by AUT and the Ministry for Women found that up to 83% of the gap between men and women’s pay is unexplained. This means the difference in men and women’s pay comes down to conscious or unconscious bias.

To help bridge that gap, young women need to think about negotiation tactics when they start their careers. For example, if you are quoted a salary band, push for the higher end. Also think about perks your employer can offer you that aren’t related to salary like paying for a course you want to complete or giving you extra annual leave.

Check for more negotiating tips.

“I didn’t really know how to negotiate my pay until I was around 25 to 27 years old. As someone who started working full time when I was 21, I think about how much money I missed out on because of that.

Now at the age of 30, I still know of friends who are fearful of asking for more pay and treat every pay offer like something they should be grateful for, rather than something they are worthy of. That makes me sad.”

Have you ever negotiated your pay?

What was that experience like and what was the outcome?

If you haven’t negotiated your pay before, why is that?

Would hearing from other women about their own experiences empower you to negotiate your pay?

Any advice or suggestions?


3 Motherhood penalty

The Effect of Motherhood on Pay report, released recently by Stats NZ and the Ministry for Women, revealed that the gender pay gap between women and men who are parents is 17 percent compared to five percent for non-parents.

This difference of 12 per cent is called the motherhood penalty, which rises for mothers who work part time compared with full-time.

The gender pay gaps rises markedly when women take on caring responsibilities. For women, it is virtually impossible to recover any ground they lose while taking on caring responsibilities. This will continue until the culture within our workplaces changes

Organisations need to consider whether their own policies and practices are contributing to the gap, and if they are, they need to take leadership and provide flexible work options and supportive environments for women taking on caring responsibilities.

“Those women in the office who talk about having children in the office suffer for it. They are perceived as “mum’s first” and worker’s second. The way I sit, I still appear fully available to my job, which is what management wants to see. What makes me sad is that we can’t all be multi-dimensional human beings – why can’t I be a worker, and a mother, and a friend etc and be judgement free…”

“My experience of being a mum in the workforce is that the best path for my career is to act as if I don’t have a child. It sounds harsh, but I can guarantee you that most of the senior managers (all men) that I work with do not realise I have a two-year old.

Do you feel like your organisation looks after women who are mothers?

Is there anything you would like to know that would help you have a conversation with your workplace about their policies and how they work?

Do you work for an organisation that you think is leading the way in this space?

Any advice or suggestions?


4 Promotions and pay rises

The Commission’s latest Tracking Equality At Work data, shows that there has been a sharp decline in women in senior management roles in the private sector from 31% in 2014 to 19% in 2015.

Additionally, a new indicator added to the tool in 2015, which compares the number of women in senior leadership roles by country, showed that New Zealand, at 19%, scored in the lowest 10 countries of the 36 countries surveyed.

Unfortunately, negative biases and stereotypes still have a lot to answer for when it comes to impacts on the promotion of women in the New Zealand workforce. To deal with that impact, employers should be regularly reviewing their internal processes around promotion and making sure those processes are as transparent as possible.

For most people, asking for a promotion or a pay rise at work can be a daunting experience, but it is really a matter of talking about your value to the organisation you work for. It’s a good idea to think about how you can illustrate your reasons for wanting and deserving a promotion or pay rise.

For more tips on asking for a pay rise of promotion, visit: seek.co.nz/career-advice/how-to-ask-for-a-pay-rise

“Always ask the question – am I good enough? And the answer should always be yes.

How do you approach promotion opportunities in your workplace?

Do you employers actively encourage you to seek promotions?

What has held you back in the past from going for a promotion opportunity or asking for a pay rise?

Any advice or suggestions?


5 Women in leadership

The Human Rights Commission’s latest Tracking Equality At Work data, shows that the percentage of women on both state sector and private sector boards has increased from 41.7% in 2014 to 43.4% in 2015 and 14% in 2014 to 17% in 2015 respectively.

While the increasing representation of women on boards within the public is positive, women remain woefully underrepresented on private sector boards. Ethnic representation on boards, appears to be very low, however at present private sector boards are not required to provide data publicly about ethnic diversity on their boards.

The Commission firmly believes that both public and private sector organisations should start publishing their diversity data, which means they can see where the gender and diversity gaps are being created and look at how they can fix them.

“When I challenged decisions, I was told I was aggressive and emotional and when I did a great job it was because I had easy departments to manage. I was given the impression that the great work I did and the fantastic culture I created were never because of my skills and ability!”

Do you think your organisation is actively looking for ways to increase diversity in leadership roles?

Do you feel you work for an organisation that is leading the way in supporting diversity in leadership?

What would help you feel more confident is applying for a leadership role?

Any advice or suggestions?