Workplace gender equality – Insights from the hospitality industry

Australian private sector employers with 100 or more employees are now required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on six gender equality indicators each year. This obligation also applies to community clubs with 100 or more employees.

The mandatory reporting and disclosure obligations arise from legislation introduced by the Federal Government in March 2023. The reforms aim to ‘improve transparency, accountability and motivate action to accelerate progress on gender equality in the workplace’ by imposing mandatory reporting on workplace data. In February 2024, WGEA published the reporting results for the first time for private sector employers, with the Commonwealth public sector data set to be published later this year.  

The six gender equality indicators WGEA considers are: 

  • gender composition of the workforce 
  • gender composition of governing bodies of relevant employers 
  • equal remuneration between women and men 
  • availability and utility of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible working arrangements for employees and working arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities
  • consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace 
  • any other matters specified by the Minister: sex-based harassment and discrimination

The relevant industry classification for hospitality businesses included in the report is the Food and Beverage Services sub-division, for which 162 employers reported their results. According to the WEGA data, the average total remuneration gender pay gap is currently 6.8% which is better than the results across all industries, which had an average gap of 21.7%.  As might be expected, the gap was higher for management level roles.

Other gender equity indicators of note for the F&B industry include that women comprise 51% of the workforce, but only 20% of board members, 12% of board chairs and 11% of CEOs.

In several areas, the results for the F&B industry were favourable when compared to national averages.  It is promising to see a trend towards equity in the national data over the past nine years with employers reporting a reduction in the average pay gap from 28.6% to 21.7%.  We expect that the increased reporting and scrutiny of the data will continue to close the gap over the coming years. However, in smaller organisations, the effects may take longer to filter through.

Employers who fail to comply with the new obligations will be publicly named on the WGEA list of non-compliant employers. To avoid this, we recommend employers: 

  • assess whether their organisation has adequate systems in place to accurately record and report the information required by WGEA;
  • ensure their organisation understands the reporting requirements to avoid the risk of being publicly named on the WGEA list of non-compliant employers;
  • take meaningful action to minimise any gender pay gaps within their organisation; and 
  • review their equity, diversity and inclusion policies to ensure they are up to date and accurately reflect the organisation’s commitment to such issues.

Should you have any queries or require any further information, please contact me on (07) 3224 035

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
For the latest publications and updates, click on the link below.
Scroll to Top

Book a consultation