Employment gender gaps have continued to close in the strong post-pandemic labour market, driven by increased women’s workforce participation. Most gender gap indicators are currently at or near their lowest recorded levels.

Headline gender pay gap

The headline gender pay gap was 12.0% in November 2023. This indicator offers an ‘apples to apples’ comparison of male and female employees, as it excludes gender differences in hours worked and overtime/bonuses. The headline gender pay gap is currently the lowest on record, down from 17.2% a decade ago.

Total earnings

The gender gap for total earnings – i.e. take home pay – was 28.1% in November 2023. This indicator offers a more real-world comparison, as it includes gender differences in hour worked and overtime/bonuses. The total earnings gap is currently the lowest on record, and has been steadily declining for the last decade.

Hours worked

The gender gap in hours worked has slightly increased to 18.5% in November 2023. This indicator measures how patterns of full-, part- and over-time work lead to gender differences in total hours worked.


The gender gap for wages – i.e. average hourly rates of pay – was 11.5 % in November 2023. This gap reflects occupational differences, such as women being employed in lower-wage occupations, industries and/or less-senior roles. Except for a period of volatility during the pandemic, the gender wages gap has been relatively stable – oscillating between 11 and 13% – for the last decade.

Pay gaps by industries

The industries with the lowest gender pay gaps are public administration (5.2%), construction (6.8%), transport, postal & warehousing (7.6%), education (8.6%), accommodation & food (9.6%). The gap is largest in professional, scientific & technical services (23.5%), health care & social assistance (20.6%), administrative services (17.6%) and financial services (17.5%).

Since the pandemic, the strongest improvements in the gender pay gap have occurred in two traditionally male-dominated industries: construction (down by 10.7% since 2019) and transport (down by 8.3%).


Female unemployment was 3.6% in February 2024, compared to 3.8% for males. Female unemployment has tended to be lower than male in the recent labour market cycle, reflecting strong employment growth in several female-dominated industries.


Female under-employment was 7.8% in February 2024, compared to 5.5% for males. The gender gap in underemployment has closed significantly in the tight post-pandemic labour market, falling from around a 4.0% gap prior to the pandemic to around 2.3% since the current cycle.

Labour market participation

Female labour market participation was 62.8% in January 2024, a slight drop from its record high level 63% in November 2023. However, women’s participation has been steadily increasing for decades, but the increase accelerated in the tight post-pandemic labour market. The current gender participation gap of 7.9%.

Full-time employment

The share of female employees in full-time employment was 56.7% in February 2024, down slightly from a peak of 57.8% in June 2023. The rate grew by approximately 3% during the current labour market cycle. With the rate of male full-time employment declining very slightly, the gender gap for full-time employment has narrowed to 23.3%.


The data in this factsheet are derived from various ABS labour surveys. Data is collected on a monthly, quarterly or biannual basis, and is typically released two or three months following the reference period. Ai Group Research & Economics will update this factsheet as new data is released. Refer to notes in the charts for links to the source data.

Ai Group Research & Economics Team

Website: Research and Economics Resource Centre

Email: economics@aigroup.com.au

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