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Employers battle with gender equality conundrum

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
05 March 2018 1 minute readShare
Gender equality

Heated comments following a story on a ‘sexist’ job ad have highlighted the fine line employers tread trying to create a fair and equal workplace that also delivers for them.

My Business received a flurry of comments to a recent story about a law firm’s controversial job advertisement, which was decried as being sexist, suggestive and potentially in breach of anti-discrimination laws.

The firm posted what was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek message about seeking to “groom a young boy” into “a fine young solicitor”.

The vast majority of comments supported the law firm, decrying political correctness but also suggesting that the battle for equality in the workplace has, itself, become unequal.

“Mr Hau has been upfront, saving female applicants[’] time and emotional investment when they didn’t meet the needs of the business. Would it be better for this to be a hidden agenda wasting everyone[’]s time? Oh and I am a proud female professional and business owner (so no hidden agenda here),” said one reader.

“Political correctness has gone too far – and why waste potential applicants['] time by placing misleading ads. I am a female business owner, with 80 per cent female employees, however sometimes we just need to get the balance and dynamic right by employing a male,” commented another.

A third went even further, suggesting that creating a gender balance in workplaces has become a one-sided affair: “Mr Hua's mistake was to specifically advertise for a male – that is discrimination. If he had advertised for a female – that is not discrimination. Simple really!”

It comes as the federal government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) released research suggesting the gender pay gap could be closed by companies auditing the salaries of their employees and bringing them into balance.

The agency’s report "Gender Equity Insights 2018: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap", found that among businesses that conducted a pay gap audit and responded accordingly, female top-tier managers saw their salaries climb by an average of $24,000, while male managers of the same level saw their pay cut by $4,000 on average.

“Organisational gender pay gaps do not close themselves. They must be quantified and analysed, shared with boards and executive teams and acted upon,” said WGEA director Libby Lyons.

“This invaluable report is a call to action for boards and executive teams. They need to ask for their organisation’s pay equity metrics and then be accountable for addressing any pay discrepancies.”


Employers battle with gender equality conundrum
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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