Women’s pay gap narrows

The gender pay gap on total remuneration in tertiary education narrowed by 2 per cent or so between ’21 and ’23 to 6.2%, according to the new Women Gender Equality Agency survey. 

The gap on base salary was 5.3%, down from 6.8%. In comparison, the smaller but sort of similar professional, scientific and technical services category (ex computing) had a 22% pay gap between genders – in line with the all-employers, (ex public service), figure.

The university gap would be bigger, but for universities expanding the number of women in senior positions.  According to Angel Calderon (RMIT), women made up 51% of the HE workforce in 2001 and 58% in 2021. At the turn of the century, women accounted for 15% of academic leadership positions, growing to 37% in ’21. For professional staff the increase was 36% to 52% and gender parity was achieved in 2018.

The overall figures are skewed by the proportion of women in lower paygrades. There are also numerous cases of women not long enough in charge at their universities to make a difference.


Uni Queensland led by the everything-always-covered-everywhere Deborah Terry has a total package gap of 3.1% but pays men zero base remuneration more than women. 

Margaret Sheil’s QUT is a bit behind, with men 4.1% up on total package value and median base of 4.1%.  So is Griffith U (VC Carolyn Evans), with a 3.9% gap on base and 5.6% on total earnings.

But there is a dip to Geraldine Mackenzie’s Uni Southern Queensland where women are paid 7% lower base and 12.8% in package. And a slide to Helen Bartlett’s Uni Sunshine Coast – 14.3% base and 13.9% total under what men make.


Neither Patricia Davidson nor Renée Leon have been in place that long, but the former’s Uni Wollongong has gender pay gaps of 8.5% base and 4% total and the latter’s Charles Sturt U 13.1% and 12.8%.


At Monash U, Sharon Pickering has just replaced long-serving VC Margaret Gardner. The pay gaps there are 6.1% and 5.8%. Swinburne U VC Pascale Quester is now new-ish in the job and leads an institution where men are paid 10.9% more (base) and 6.9% total remuneration.


At Curtin U Harlene Hayne has been VC for a couple of years. The gender pay gaps there are 4.1% in base and 8.5% total package.



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