Pay and gender in PM&C

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) employs around 2,160 staff, of which around 1,460 are women (67.5 percent of staff) and 700 are men (32.5 percent of staff). At PM&C, we are committed to achieving gender equity in our workforce. This includes ensuring our staff receive equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender.

To review whether the Department is meeting this commitment, we have undertaken an analysis of gender pay issues. This revealed that gender pay gaps within each classification level are generally small, indicating women and men undertaking work of similar value are remunerated relatively equally.

Women in PM&C are paid, on average, slightly more than men at most classification levels (Figure 1). This difference is most prominent at the APS1-3 levels, where women are, on average, paid 3.8 percent more than men. At the Executive Level 2 and Senior Executive Service Band 1 (SESB1) levels, however, men are paid slightly more than women (on average, 1.4 percent and 3.4 percent respectively).

Figure 1 – PM&C Gender Pay Gap by substantive classification - June 2018 (Secretary excluded)*

PM&C Gender Pay Gap by substantive classification - June 2018 (Secretary excluded)

* SESB3 data is omitted due to the very small number of staff in the cohort.


Case study: SES Band 1 cohort

On closer examination, it is evident that the SESB1 pay gap is due (in part) to men being substantively at level for longer than their female counterparts (on average, 6.3 years compared to 3.3 years). There is no pay gap between women and men with similar length of time substantively at level, except for new SESB1 employees. This is due to SESB1 men being recruited from outside the APS more often than women are (20 percent of the male SESB1 cohort compared to seven percent of the female SESB1 cohort). Unlike staff promoted from the EL2 level who commence on the lowest SESB1 salary by default, SESB1 external recruits are more likely to commence at a higher salary level. 

Historically, the proportion of SESB1 staff sourced from outside of the APS has been low for both men and women.

Further, the average age of a SESB1 woman is 43.5 years compared to 48.3 years for the average SESB1 man. With a younger age profile, women at the SESB1 classification level in PM&C are likely to have fewer years’ career experience than SESB1 men, which may be contributing to the pay gap at this level.

Gender distribution

While women make up 59 percent of the overall APS workforce (as at 30 June 2018), they are over-represented at the APS-levels and under-represented at the EL and SES levels.

Seventy-eight percent of female public service employees are employed at APS-levels, compared with 67 percent of male public service employees. Twenty-one percent of female public service employees are employed at EL levels, compared with 31 percent of male public service employees. Only one percent of female public service employees are employed at SES levels, compared with two percent of male public service employees.

Overall PM&C’s workforce is 67.5 percent female and 32.5 percent male. There are more than twice as many women as men at the EL1 level and below (Figure 2). Fifty-three percent of all PM&C female staff are at the APS level (around 775 staff) compared to 44.9 percent of male staff (around 325 staff). PM&C also has a lower representation of women at the SES level (4 percent of women compared to 6.7 percent of men).

Figure 2 – Number of women and men at each substantive classification, June 2018

Number of women and men at each substantive classification, June 2018

The larger proportion of men at higher classifications in PM&C pushes the average salary for the male cohort upwards, while the larger proportion of women at lower classifications reduces the average salary for the female cohort. These combined factors resulted in an organisational level pay gap in PM&C in 2018 of 6.8 percent.

However, the organisational gender pay gap decreased between 2016 and 2018 by 1.8 percentage points. This reflects a greater proportion of women moving from the APS levels into the EL and SES cohorts over time.

What next?

PM&C will continue to monitor gender, pay and distribution of its workforce to ensure we maintain gender equity. PM&C is also implementing a Gender Equality Action Plan to support gender equality in recruitment, retention and promotion.

PM&C is committed to leveraging its leadership role to drive discussions on the wider APS gender pay gap. A broader conversation around the meaning and measurement of the gender pay gap will better position the APS for meaningful gender equity.