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Decomposing the Gender Pay Gap in the Australian Managerial Labour Market


  • Ian Watson

    () (Macquarie University)


This article examines the gender pay gap among full-time managers in Australia over the period 2001 to 2008. Using decompositions I explore the issue of discrimination, as well as the roles played by labour force experience and parenting. The results show that female managers earned on average about 27 per cent less than their male counterparts and the decompositions suggest that somewhere between 65 and 90 per cent of this earnings gap cannot be explained by recourse to a large range of demographic and labour market variables. A major part of the earnings gap is simply due to women managers being female. In addition, the presence of dependent children worsens the earnings gap, while the financial returns to labour force experience diminish in the latter years among female managers rather than stabilising, as they do for male managers. Despite the characteristics of male and female managers being remarkably similar, their earnings are very different, suggesting that discrimination plays an important role in this outcome. The article uses eight waves of HILDA data to fit mixed-effects models which are then used for Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions. In addition, a recent simulated change approach, developed by Olsen and Walby in the UK, is also implemented using this Australian data.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Watson, 2010. "Decomposing the Gender Pay Gap in the Australian Managerial Labour Market," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 13(1), pages 49-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:49-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Giesecke & G.A. Meagher, 2008. "Modelling the Economic Effects of Population Ageing," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-172, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
    2. Shah, C & Burke, G, 2005. "Skills Shortages: Concepts, Measurement and Policy Responses," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 44-71.
    3. Peter B. Dixon & Maureen T. Rimmer, 2006. "The Displacement Effect of Labour-Market Programs: MONASH Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(s1), pages 26-40, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Biagetti & Sergio Scicchitano, 2014. "Estimating the Gender Pay Gap in the Managerial and non Managerial Italian Labor Market," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 1846-1856.
    2. Uhrig, S.C. Noah & Watson, Nicole, 2014. "The impact of measurement error on wage decompositions: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. repec:bla:acctfi:v:57:y:2017:i:3:p:789-813 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ecanpo:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:14-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Marco Biagetti & Sergio Scicchitano, 2016. "Are women in supervisory positions more discriminated against? A multinomial approach," Working Papers 2, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
    6. Rosa Duarte & Cristina Sarasa & Mònia Serrano, 2018. "Structural change and female participation in recent economic growth: A multisectoral analysis for the Spanish economy," UB Economics Working Papers 2018/371, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.

    More about this item


    Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials; Labor Discrimination: General; Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination


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