Lyons went on to emphasise that the data did not take into consideration the women and men who are under-employed, such as those who had left the workforce or had their hours reduced.
“I expect to see more labour market volatility over the next 12 to 24 months as the nation settles into a new post-COVID-19 employment environment,” she said. “As the nation’s recovery progresses, we may well see male wages increase with little or no positive improvement in the wages of women. If this happens, it is feasible that the gender pay gap will increase."
Lyons added that now was the time for employers to "take action to remedy this", adding that while 2020 was a difficult year for many Australian businesses, “we cannot allow the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to be an excuse for inaction and inertia”.
“Our economic recovery depends on women and men having genuine choice and equal access to re-engage and fully participate in the workforce,” she said.
In February 2020, the WGEA calculated a 0.1 per cent drop in the national gender pay gap, bringing the final difference to 13.9 per cent, which at the time, was a disparity of $242.90 a week.