NZ's top equal pay employer revealed

by 09 Oct 2015
YWCA Auckland has announced five “outstanding winners” at its annual Equal Pay Awards.

ANZ Bank’s New Zealand operations took the top award for its practices as an equal pay employer.

The subsequent rankings went to IAG New Zealand, law firm Bell Gully, the Education Review Office and the New Zealand Defence Force.

The latest NZ Income Survey revealed that the gender pay gap is at a six-year high; although there was an overall increase in earnings, there was a reported gap of $4.19 per hour.

Felicity Evans, ANZ’s general manager of HR in New Zealand, previously told HRM that the bank had “put a lot of effort into promoting diversity.”

“We want the staff of ANZ to mirror our customer base, with a mix of cultures, gender and ages. We are making progress and it is great to get external recognition for this,” she explained.

ANZ’s gender diversity initiatives include:
  • The ‘Plus One’ pledge, which aims to increase the representation of women in senior management positions
  • 50/50 gender split in the bank's Talent, Graduate and Generalist Banker programs
  • Parental leave policies
  • The ‘All Roles Flex’ program, which encourages flexible working arrangements
  • The ‘Notable Women’ program, designed to raise the prominence of ANZ’s female leaders

Monica Briggs, CEO of YWCA Auckland, said that the widening pay gap builds a strong case for businesses to prioritise equal pay within their organisations.

“As the pay gap grows, we are compelled to start seeking the solutions,” she said.

“Thought leadership is part of the solution here and we are thrilled to present some outstanding case studies that can motivate others to follow suit.”

“Our eyes have once again been opened to the level of commitment among New Zealand employers, toward addressing equal pay,” Briggs added.

“This year’s standard of entries can only be described as inspirational. Our Supreme winner, ANZ, has rigorously implemented gender inclusive strategies and initiatives across every aspect of their business.”

She said that closing the gender pay gap required more than devising one simple solution.

“Fixing the pay gap is one thing, but sustainable solutions involve a broad matrix of policies and practices to ensure the same problems don’t keep reoccurring. It involves futureproofing for long term success,” she said.

“ANZ has this in their sights, tackling the issue from the recruitment phase right through to managing talent pipelines.”

She gave examples of implementing fair and robust parental leave packages, and introducing a flexible workplace environment; “their list goes on,” she said.

“Their case study suggests no stone has been left unturned to ensure a fair and equitable workplace for ANZ’s female worker,” continued Briggs.

Susan Doughty, human capital partner at Ernst & Young, assisted in the judging process, and said that equal pay must be at the core of every company’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

“Remuneration specialists, like myself, are seeing more openness and willingness to address equal pay among Kiwi employers,” she said.

“I don’t believe any organisation sets out to intentionally discriminate against its employees. When it comes to equal pay, a complex matrix of social and historic factors is at play.

“However, once a business takes the issue seriously and analyses its own gender pay gap, they are often invested in making change happen.”

She added that an important step towards equal pay was securing support from senior leaders.

“Without doubt, the most successful case studies have come from organisations who have had commitment at board level to address equal pay,” Doughty said.

“Strong leadership by the CEO and at board level is definitely required.”

The 2015 YWCA Equal Pay Award winners were:

ANZ – Supreme Trophy

IAG – Gold Trophy

Bell Gully and ERO (joint winners) – Silver Distinguished Trophy

New Zealand Defence Force – Bronze Emerging Trophy