Law profession not immune to pay gap

The biggest pay gap in the public service can be found in Crown Law (Getty)
The biggest pay gap in the public service can be found in Crown Law (Getty)

Labour isn't surprised there's a massive gender pay gap in the country's legal profession, saying the Government's done nothing in eight years to fix it.

New statistics from the Law Society show female lawyers get paid 10 percent less than men.

Labour's spokesperson for women's affairs Ruth Dyson says there's always been a gender pay gap for women lawyers.

"We know that it's more dominant in occupations where there are significantly more women than men, but we also know that it actually goes right through to professional women," she told Newshub.

Ms Dyson says the National Government has ignored any opportunity to address the gender pay gap.

"There has been no work at all going on for over eight years addressing this issue. The gender pay gap is now getting bigger instead of getting smaller."

Figures released earlier this month showed the pay gap overall had moved from 11.8 percent to 12 percent. Statistics NZ says the latest increase was statistically insignificant, but there's no doubt the gap has widened since 2014, when it was below 10 percent.

Minister for Women Louise Upston said at the time it was "disappointing", and that employers needed to focus on tackling the barriers that prevent women from advancing their careers.

Ms Dyson says the pay gap is a reflection of the type of work women tend to go into - and it's the same for those qualified in law.

"They have the same qualifications, but they end up doing a different specialty and earn less money. It's part of the problem New Zealand society has, and one the Government needs to take leadership in addressing."

When National came into Government, it scrapped a unit tasked with addressing gender pay gap issues. At the time, the Public Service Association called it a breach of human rights.

The biggest pay gap in the public service can be found in Crown Law, whose men earn an average 39 percent more than its women. The only Government department where women are paid more than men is the Ministry for Women.