Survey reveals gender pay gap, lack of diversity as key issues in NZ sports

An independent NZ Sport survey has revealed gender pay discrepancy, under-representation of Asian and Pasifika people and a lack of youth representation as the key issues facing the sports sector.

On Thursday, Sport NZ released the results of its first Diversity and Inclusion Survey, which - conducted at the end of 2020 - explored the make-up and experiences of the paid workforce within the participating 154 organisations. 

The survey's findings showed women were earning 15 percent less than their male counterparts and New Zealand European workers were earning nine percent more than Māori.

People identifying as New Zealand European were over-represented in roles in the sector, while Samoan, Chinese and Indian people were under-represented in relation to the population.

The sector was under-represented by youth compared to others, with its workers aged between 36 and 64. Almost half of all sports board chairs and board members were aged over 55.

While one in 10 board members were paid and the median annual income was $10,000, most board members did not receive non-financial benefits.

Men mainly filled the roles of chief executives, high performance directors, high performance coaches and development managers.

Women featured more prominently in the Regional Sports Trusts, play providers and recreation organisations.

Sport NZ chief executive officer Raelene Castle says the results provide a starting point for the sector to make positive change.

"Much of what the survey tells us doesn't come as a surprise, but it gives us line of sight into the current state of the sector," Castle said.

"As a collective we can advance discussions around under-representation and jointly develop strategies to improve.

"Promoting the importance of diversity and inclusion is a strategic priority for Sport NZ. We will continue to support the sector to ensure we address equity issues and champion the benefits of diversity across our collective workforces and in leadership."

The survey - conducted by Angus & Associates - will be repeated over each of the next two years.