BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — May 2024: Global insurance, risk management and consulting firm, Gallagher, has released its annual Australian Workforce Trends Report, revealing that gender inequality continues to persist in Australian workplaces, causing female workers to report consistently lower levels of workplace wellbeing compared to their male counterparts.

Now in its third year, the Workplace Wellbeing Index is a barometer for how Australian employers are tracking in providing positive, safe, and effective workplaces for employees. The report is based on the insights of 2,499 full-time, part-time, and casual employees across Australia making it the largest report of its kind nationally.

The report found a significant difference between women's and men's experiences, with men consistently reporting more positive sentiment across key metrics.

Given the rising cost of living pressures, this year's survey found that individuals are increasingly focused on the financial aspects of their personal and professional lives. A closer look revealed that the most significant gaps between 'importance' and 'satisfaction' are in base salary, incentives and employee benefits.

This trend is more evident for females than males, who report more than double the gaps across all workplace remuneration areas (i.e. base salary -33% vs -17% for men, incentives -32% vs -16% for men, and employee perks at -26% vs -11% for men).

"The finding sheds light on the importance of efforts needed to close the gender pay gaps," said Dr. Scott Krebs, Head of HR and People Experience Consulting at Gallagher.

"As unveiled in the first public reporting of gender pay gap data by Workplace Gender Equality Agency earlier this year, more work is needed to achieve meaningful change, and encourage diversity at every level of the organisation.

"Tackling the gender pay gap in a continued challenging economic climate with sustained cost of living pressures is both an area of challenge and opportunity for all Australian employers," he added.

The 'Executive blind spot'

According to the research, executives and senior leaders reported more positive workplace wellbeing, compared to the team members, demonstrating a clear disconnect between the experience of executives and team members.

"When executives and senior leaders create wellbeing programs without genuine employee feedback, they fall victim to the executive blind spot" said Dr. Krebs.

This is particularly evident for organisations with a substantial gender imbalance within their executive leadership team.

For example 64% of male executives reported being satisfied with their personal finances, in contrast to just 45% of female executives. In relation to flexibility, a significant 70% of female executives place importance on the ability to work from home, compared to just 53% of male executives.

With a continuing fight for control between employers and employees in relation to hybrid working policies, Dr. Krebs believes that if the return to the office is biased towards men, more women could lose out on opportunities to grow at work.

"Many women view hybrid working as a flexible way to manage work-life balance, long after the pandemic is behind us."

"If organisations introduce new restrictions on their flexible working options, it could potentially mean fewer promotions and salary increases for women if they disproportionately work remotely, taking us a step back in closing the gender wage gap."

To address this inequality, Dr. Krebs recommends Australian workplaces to have a range of diverse voices at the executive table.

"If male-dominated leadership teams are unable to see past their own experiences, they are unlikely to make informed decisions about their wellbeing strategy to provide a workplace where all employees can equally thrive," he added.

Family building benefits key to workplace inclusion

The 2024 report found that newer entrants into the workplace benefits market are family building and fertility support. This can take a variety of forms, from reimbursements (egg /sperm freezing, IVF/IUI treatments, adoption, or surrogacy expenses), leave to attend treatments, on-call support and on-demand education.

Interestingly, men and women placed equal importance on this benefit, and approximately a quarter of employees reported having access to some form of it.

"A recent example of this is when Google Australia joined the list of progressive organisations last month by offering family-building benefits to support staff during each stage of growing their families, a move widely lauded by the industry," said Dr. Krebs.

"It is clear that fertility and family-building solutions are no longer fringe benefits. The last decade has transformed the workforce, leading to updated expectations of work-life balance from HR departments.

"Yesterday's nice-to-have benefits have now become mission-critical for both attracting and retaining employees and supporting the company's overall business performance," he concluded.

Download the report

How does your organisation compare to the rest of Australia? Download Gallagher's 2024 Workforce Trends Report: Workplace Wellbeing Index to take the first proactive step to enhancing the wellbeing of your employees.


Media contact:

Jeremy Steven, Honner
0432 078 078

About Gallagher

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG), a global consulting, insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Gallagher provides these services in approximately 130 countries around the world through its owned operations and a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

About the Workplace Trends Report and the Workplace Wellbeing Index

The data and insights highlighted in the Workplace Trends Report were gathered from December 2023 to January 2024 with 2,499 employees from across Australia contributing to the results. The census representative sample included an even split on several demographics and included full-time, part-time and casual employees.

The Index provides a comprehensive snapshot of what is driving attraction and retention of employees and how organisation can compete in the current challenging market.