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First business in Australia ‘certified’ on equal pay

Philip Morris

In what it claims to be an Australian first, Philip Morris Australia has been “globally certified” by the Switzerland-based EQUAL-SALARY Foundation, in recognition of its push to close the gender pay gap.

Melbourne-based Philip Morris Australia is the local branch of tobacco company Philip Morris International.

The EQUAL-SALARY Foundation announced that Philip Morris International (PMI) had become the first multinational to achieve this status on 4 March this year, but the status of the Australian business was only announced by Philip Morris Australia on Thursday (13 June).

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“This certificate attests to the existence of a fair wage policy between women and men within a global organisation in all its subsidiaries around the world,” the EQUAL-SALARY Foundation said at the time.

In a statement, Philip Morris Australia said that it is “proud” to be working towards full equality, having been recognised as an employer of choice by Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for the last four years.

“This certification is public recognition for something we’ve been proud of for many years — equal pay for equal work,” said Tammy Chan, managing director of Philip Morris Australia.

Ms Chan added: “As a female leader and a mother of a young girl, I am determined to do my bit in making Philip Morris a destination of choice for the next generation of aspirational young women, and I can only hope more organisations follow our lead in challenging the glass ceilings.”

However, she acknowledged that the company has more work to do, recording a 0.9 of a percentage point difference between the pay rates of female and male employees.

“The pay gap is just one aspect of gender equality, and at PMI we’re also determined to close the gender gap in management,” Ms Chan added.

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“PMI is committed to making the world a better place, and that includes improving gender equality. It is one thing for an organisation to jump on a progressive movement with a flashy social media post and a catchy hashtag, but another to genuinely implement it.”

According to the WGEA, the gender pay gap across the Australian private sector (within organisations of 100 or more employees) was 21.3 per cent last financial year, “meaning men working full-time earn $25,717 on average a year more than women working full-time”.

EQUAL-SALARY is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2010. According to its website, “it was founded by Véronique Goy Veenhuys, a social entrepreneur and equal pay advocate who created the concept of the certification back in 2005”.

Various causes, solutions in pay debate

Last week, Seek Australian and New Zealand managing director Kendra Banks revealed that analysis of internal job application data revealed that employers can inadvertently alienate women from applying for positions purely by the layout of their advertisement.

“What we found, the jobs that women are applying to on our site on average pay 3.6 per cent less than the jobs that men are applying to on our site,” she said.

“Now there’s a lot of reasons for that — part of that is job mix... part of it is confidence. We know that the more dot points of capabilities required in the job ad there are, the less likely it is that women will apply for that job.”

Meanwhile, ABS figures from September last year showed that just one in six Australian CEOs are women.

Respected business school INSEAD released research in January this year suggesting that compulsory disclosure of gender-based pay figures is capable of reducing the pay gap by 7 per cent.

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Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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