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Minister Says ‘Greedy Work’ Hindering Progress in Closing the Gender Pay Gap

High paying roles like corporate banking and law have been blamed for contributing to the difficulty in closing the gender pay gap.

BRISBANE, Australia—Competition Minister Andrew Leigh suggests that reducing the impact of “greedy jobs” in Australia could further narrow the gender pay gap.

Coined by Harvard University Professor Claudia Goldin, the term refers to high-paying professions where individuals earn more for working longer hours than the typical schedule.

Examples include corporate bankers, law firm partners, or high-level managers who often work late into the night or sacrifice their weekends to work on projects.

Professor Goldin’s research indicated that “greedy jobs” contribute to the challenge of closing the gender pay gap in certain lucrative professions, as women may opt for less demanding careers rather than sacrifice personal time for work commitments.

“Certain jobs like CEOs, judges, or senior politicians are not easily adaptable to part-time work, resulting in high salaries that are less accommodating to individuals with caregiving responsibilities, a burden that disproportionately falls on women,” Minister Leigh told The Epoch Times on March 8.

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“Greedy jobs are typically male-dominated and learning from occupations that allow job sharing can accelerate progress in closing the gender pay gap and enhance overall productivity in our country,” Mr. Leigh stated.

He compared law and pharmacy as examples, noting that law, with more “greedy jobs” and larger part-time penalties, tends to have a wider gender pay gap than pharmacy. Pharmacy, embracing IT systems to facilitate work handoffs and employing more part-timers, is considered a more productive and accommodating field.

Mr. Leigh emphasized the importance of corporate and governmental efforts to address “greedy jobs” and promote equity in the workplace.

Launching his book, The Shortest History of Economics, in Brisbane alongside federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Mr. Leigh highlighted the significance of International Women’s Day.

Mr. Leigh’s comments follow the announcement by Minister for Women Katy Gallagher on March 7 of the Labor government’s latest measures to address the gender pay gap.

Senator Gallagher shared that the gender pay gap in Australia favors men by 12 percent on average, with the gap widening to 21.7 percent in organizations with over 100 employees.

The government plans to leverage its purchasing power to support gender equality efforts, requiring companies to meet gender targets and implement policies like flexible work arrangements and measures to address sexual harassment before awarding government contracts.

“Businesses will need to demonstrate progress toward their targets to secure government contracts,” Ms. Gallagher explained.

These initiatives complement new government-funded superannuation payments in addition to paid parental leave benefits.

Alfred Bui contributed to this article.

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