Gender pay gaps have flourished in a culture of continued secrecy around salaries, and a global survey shows more work is needed to shine a light on discrimination in the workplace.

Pile of New Zealand currency laying flat on tablePhoto: 123RF


The Equileap survey ranked New Zealand’s best performing company, Xero, in 83rd place in the Asia Pacific region for gender equality.

Australia, UK, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa have all introduced compulsory reporting, but New Zealand has not.

The report analysing gender pay gap reporting in these six countries was prepared for the United Nations by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College London.

The average gender pay gap in New Zealand is 9 percent, but the difference in pay for a Pasifika woman and a Pākehā man is 25 percent.

Report author Minna Cowper-Coles told Nine to Noon it looked at accountability mechanisms, making sure there was transparency built into the process.

“Something that we’d love to see introduced more worldwide was an element of intersectionality.

“So, ethnicity becoming something that can be reported on because many countries like in UK we have pay gap [that] is different across different ethnicities as well, and I think that’s something where NZ has this opportunity to be very world-leading and introduce exciting new legislation.”

She said there was evidence that the gender pay gap was reducing in companies that were obliged to report it.

Advocacy group Mind The Gap co-founder Jo Cribb said the performance of New Zealand’s listed companies in the survey was embarrassing.

In other results, Air New Zealand was ranked 98, Chorus 120, Auckland Airport 179 and Genesis 212 respectively.

“We really do pride ourselves on being a country that is equal and fair, but we don’t have these protections that these other nations do,” Cribb said.

“It was a pretty gloomy picture.”

She believed new legislation for mandatory reporting of company pay rates between men and women on a public database was required.

“Mind The Gap has been engaging regularly with ministers.

“While we have had encouraging statements to us and encouraging public statements, there is nothing in place yet.

“With people on the receiving end of pay gaps, that’s money that’s not in their pockets at the moment.”

The majority of New Zealand’s large employers are not reporting on gender pay gaps in their workforce, while 91 percent of companies in the Asia Pacific region do not disclose any information on the gender pay gap.

“The survey looked across the Asia and Pacific region through the big companies and said there were pretty low levels of pay gap disclosure compared to Europe and the rest of the world.

“New Zealand was actually lagging quite a long way behind, but there were great examples in Australia.”

New Zealand had few companies that were competitive on a global scale, she said.

“While we might have really good representation of women on boards and women in management roles, we are really shy about pay equity.

“When looking at New Zealand they were surprised that there was no mandatory pay gap reporting,” Cribb said.