A latest study conducted by Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has showed that local woman needs 64 extra days of work for the average wages to equal what man earns at average within a year.
WGEA director Helen Conway said the current national gender pay gap of 17.5 percent is much larger than it was 20 years ago and has been increasing.
"It's actually been steadily increasing since about 2004, from about 15 percent in 2004 and now we're looking at about 17.5 percent over the last year," Conway said on Tuesday when Australia observed its Equal Pay Day, a symbolic reminder to call on employers to help close the pay gap.
According to the WGEA's calculation, the average full-time working woman's salary each week is around 266 Australian dollars (238.6 U.S. dollars), which is less than that of full-time working man, leaving an average annual difference of about 13,842 Australian dollars (12,418 U.S. dollars).
It also means that the average full-time salary for a woman is about 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man in an ordinary time job.
This high-level gap was impacted by industrial segregation and pay inequities at the organization level and job level, said Conway in a media release.
However, she admitted that the gender pay gap is a complicated issue depending on what kind of working environment they involve in.
"An organization may pay women and men doing the same jobs the same amounts, but have an organization-wide gender pay gap because women are under-represented in management, and over-represented in lower-paid roles," she said.
The uneven distribution of women and men across industries also leads to the gap.
"Workers in female-dominated industries tend to receive lower wages than those in male-dominated industries such as mining.
Figures provided by the WGEA show the female-dominated health care and social assistance industry has the highest gender pay gap at 32.3 percent, which grew from 31.3 percent in May 2012. The gap in the finance and insurance sector declined 1.3 percent from last May to the current 31.4 percent. In professional, scientific and technical services industry, it has a 30.1 percent gender pay gap, which went up 3 percent last May.
From next year, non-public sector employers with 100 or more staff will be required by legislation to report payments by gender, and what strategies they are adopting to address pay gaps.
"If employers committed to addressing the gender pay gap at an occupational and organizational level, we could expect to see some reduction in the national gender pay gap which would result in greater economic security for women during their working lives and in retirement," Conway said.
The WGEA is a government statutory agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces to carry out the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.