Women lose out in salary stakes

Women lose out in salary stakes

Women are losing out on salary and senior jobs more in WA than the rest of the country.

The average pay gap between WA men and women stands at 27 per cent - 1.5 times higher than the national average.

WA's labour market is being blamed for giving its women a worse deal in terms of pay and high-ranking positions.

Less than 30 per cent of senior executive roles in WA's public sector are held by women - the nation's second lowest percentage behind Tasmania.

In its latest annual report, the Department for Communities said WA's gender pay gap demanded attention.

Acting director-general Brad Jolly said higher-paying industries, such as mining, predominantly employed men. Women largely worked in "caring" industries.

"The mining industry employs around 11 per cent of the male WA workforce and 5 per cent of the female WA workforce, whilst the healthcare and social work areas employ around 17 per cent of women in the workforce," he said.

Mr Jolly said 82 per cent of employees in the mining industry, where the average annual salary is $127,566, were men.

Conversely, 80 per cent of workers in social assistance jobs, where the average annual salary is $61,984, were women.

And Mr Jolly said the finance and retail sectors in WA had a bigger gender pay gap than nationally on average.

WA's gender pay gap could widen even further as the State's community-care sector grows to look after the ageing population.

The department warned that, as the baby boomer generation gets older, the number of West Australians aged 60 and over would increase by more than 150 per cent by 2050.

Acting director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment Fiona Roche said the number of women in senior executive roles in WA's public sector had increased 4 per cent over the past four years.

But she said it still lagged behind most of the country.

This year, 29.2 per cent of WA's public sector senior executives are women.

Ms Roche said Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope had committed to examining how to get more women in leadership roles in the State's public sector.