Hourly wages rise, but gender gap back to six-year high

 HAMISH RUTHERFORD
While wages increased, the pay gap has hit a six-year high.

Richard Parker

While wages increased, the pay gap has hit a six-year high.

The amount Kiwis earn rose strongly in the year to June, although the gap in pay between men and women is growing.

On Friday Statistics New Zealand released the New Zealand Income Survey for the year to June 30, showing median weekly earnings rose 4.3 per cent while median hourly earnings rose 3.8 per cent.

This suggests half the population who are 15 or older earn more than $621 a week, and more than $22.83 an hour.

But the increase in hourly wages was not spread evenly between the sexes.

Men saw a far bigger increase than women, with median hourly earnings for men up $1.06 or 4.6 per cent to $24.07, while median hourly income for women rose up 50 cents an hour or 2.4 per cent to $21.23.

Statistics New Zealand said based on the survey the gender pay gap rose to 11.8 per cent in the year to June 30, compared to 9.9 per cent a year earlier and 11.2 per cent in the 2013 June quarter.

According to Statistics New Zealand the gender pay gap has generally been decreasing since 1998, but had stabilised in the last few years.

The income survey is a blunter tool than the labour cost index, with the income survey influenced by changes in real wages as well as changes in the composition of the workforce and changes driven by an aging population.

However Statistics New Zealand say it is the recommended measure for calculating the pay gap between men and women, as it measures hourly earnings for a fixed quantity of work.

Green Party women’s spokeswoman Jan Logie said the gender pay gap in 2015 was the  largest in six years.

“It’s clear that the National Government’s hands-off approach to gender equality is failing women in the workforce,” Logie said.

“Women are literally paying the price for National’s do-nothing approach to the gender pay gap.”

Statistics New Zealand said the 2015 survey was influenced by changes to the workforce.

“Over the last year, there were more wage and salary earners, particularly more full-time workers,” labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

“This contributed to the income rise for all people, as full-time workers tend to receive higher income than the rest of the population.”

Hourly earnings for European workers was lower than for Asian and Pacific workers, although the increase was also lower.

According to the income survey median hourly earnings for workers of European ethnicity climbed 95 cents or 4.1 per cent to $23.97 an hour.

Median hourly earnings for Asian workers rose $1.34 or 6.8 per cent to $21 and Pacific people saw a $1.05  rise or 5.8 per cent to $19.18.

The survey also revealed where in the country has the highest median earnings.

Southland was the highest earning region in the country with median weekly income from all sources of $693 a week, followed by Canterbury at $671 and Wellington at $658 a week.

Manawatu-Wanganui had the lowest income, with median weekly income of $510, while Northland was next with $570 and Gisborne/Hawkes Bay with $589.

Statistics New Zealand said the regional earnings are strongly influenced by demographics, with Southland tending to have a lower proportion of 15-19 year olds, who tend to earn less than older workers.

 – Stuff

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This entry was posted in Article - Newspapers, Equal Pay, Gender debate, Women's issues and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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