Aotearoa's gender, ethnic pay gaps closes slightly, but still equate to 'whopping' $17.6b when combined

Strategic Pay found the gender pay gap has "slightly improved".
Strategic Pay found the gender pay gap has "slightly improved". Photo credit: Getty Images

A new report has found the combination of Aotearoa's gender and ethnic pay gaps has closed slightly but still equates to a "whopping" $17.6 billion in lost earnings.

Strategic Pay's third annual pay equity analysis found the gender and ethnic pay gaps have closed in slightly after they widened last year, with the gains seen in the public and not-for-profit sectors. 

While Strategic Pay found the private sector saw no change over the last 12 months, managing Director Cathy Hendry said it shows the private sector has some work to do. 

"This analysis differs from the Statistics New Zealand figures, as we can look beyond just base salary and examine what the pay gap looks like when benefits such as vehicles or insurances are included."

Strategic Pay found the gender pay gap has "slightly improved", with it sitting at 16.7 percent compared to 18.5 percent in 2021. 

Breakdown of gender pay gap by sector 

  • The not-for-profit sector leads the way, and Strategic Pay found pay gaps halved since their inaugural analysis. 
  • The public sector gender pay gap reduced by 1.9 percent and the private sector gender pay gap shrunk by 0.8 percent. 
  • Hendry said the public and not-for-profit sectors likely reaped benefits from targeted pay gap initiatives, "including a number of large pay equity settlements and compulsory reporting of pay gaps within the core public sector".

Ethnic pay gap - Research conducted by Motu in partnership with Strategic Pay

Strategic Pay's analysis found a "substantial" hourly pay gap when Pākehā/European men were compared with Māori men.

Māori men earn 17 percent less Pākehā/European men, while Pacific men earn 23 percent less and Asian men earn 11 percent less.

The analysis also found women are subject to gender and ethnic pay gaps. When compared to the average hourly pay rate of Pākehā/European men, Pākehā/European women earn 12 percent less, wāhine Māori earn 23 percent less, Pacific women earn 24 percent less and Asian women earn 17.4 percent less. 

When the research discounted factors that could be outside an employer's control, gender and ethnic pay gaps still stood. 

"This means that discrimination is still probably the main driver, so there is plenty of room for pay and employment practices to close the gender and ethnic pay gaps."

Strategic Pay's report is based on data from over 192,000 employees from across the motu in 1141 public, private and not-for-profit organisations. 

The findings are based on data from March, taking into account base salary and other variables like KiwiSaver and bonuses.