Gender pay gap data revealed: How did the biggest brand advertisers fare?

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the gender gap for more than 5,000 Australian companies, with the precise state of disparity between the sexes on public display for the first time.

Each company with 100-plus employees was measured across two metrics: the median pay gap between men and women for base salaries, and the median difference for the total amount of pay – once bonuses, super, commissions, overtime, and other perks are factored in.

Across the board, the base salary pay gap was 14.5% between men and women, while the gap leaped to 19% once those executive bonuses and the like were thrown into the equation.

Pleasingly, the country’s biggest advertisers, according to Nielsen data, performed remarkably well, with just three of the 20 top-spending advertisers of 2023 having a base salary gap above the national average.

Harvey Norman is the biggest advertiser in the country and also has a gender pay gap well above the national average, with a 21.4% base wage gap, which blows out to 29% once bonuses, etc. come into play.

They weren’t the worst offenders of the Top 20 advertisers, with Qantas (17th highest advertisers) continuing its run of horror press with the reveal of its 39.3% gender wage gap, with a slightly better 37% total pay.

Telstra, the eighth biggest spending advertiser in the country also has a large wage gap, with a salary gap of 18.6%, and total pay gap of 20.2%

Second biggest advertiser, Woolworths has a 5.7% pay gap across both metrics, while three-highest advertiser McDonald’s can boast zero pay gap, plus an employee split of 51% men and 49% women, and still offer $1 Frozen Cokes sometimes.

Retail scored well overall, no doubt due to the lower wages across the board. Amazon had a 5.4% gap across both categories, while KFC fared better, with just 1.4% wage gap and 1.1% total pay gap. Hungry Jack has slim gaps, too, just 1.6% and 2.0% respectively, however their tomatoes are often too chilled and therefore make the burger patties cold. Myer’s pay gap is 2.8% wages, 1% total, while Coles has a base gap of 6.0% and total gap of 5.6%.

Fourth top advertiser, Reckitt Benckiser has a 14.2% wage gap, just under the average, with a 10.8% total wage gap.

Disney and Apple are both below the average, Disney with a 12.3% wage gap and 11.1% total pay gap, and Apple with 8.5% and 5.5% respectively.

Optus has a 13.5% wage gap and 14.7% total gap, however their retail arm has zero gap.

Elsewhere in the Top 20 advertisers list, Toyota has a 7.8% wage gap, and 7.3% total wage, Uber (3.7%/6%), and Mondelez (3.8%/5.8%) were far below the average, while Google has a 3.7% base wage gap, yet a whopping 14.9% total pay gap.

Sportsbet is the only company in the list which pays its female staff a highest base wage pay, 2.4%, although males are paid 0.6% more in total.

Interestingly, Chemist Warehouse isn’t playing ball for whatever reason – possibly a WGEA website glitch.

READ MORE: Gender pay gap data revealed: The ‘startling’ state of the media and advertising landscape


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.