Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap measures the difference between what men and women earn.  The causes of the pay gap are complex, and are influenced by a range of factors some of which are cultural and historical.

There are many different ways to compare the earnings of men and women; the Ministry compares the median hourly earnings of men and women, using data from the New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS). The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) allows the comparison of average hourly earnings of men and women and is often used to find a gender pay gap.

The Ministry considers median hourly earnings to be a more appropriate source to track the gender pay gap than average hourly earnings, as changes in median hourly earnings can be directly related to changes in employees’ wages or salaries.  Because of its methodology the QES can artificially inflate or deflate the size of the gender pay gap. This example illustrates the impact of the two surveys’ differing methodology.

Median hourly earnings are less influenced by the number of hours worked than other measures. Further using median hourly earnings aligns best with international measures, and it is considered to be the most robust source for tracking the pay gap over time.

At June 2013, the gender pay gap measured 10.1 percent. The overall trend has been downwards since 1998.


Gender pay gap
(Median hourly

2013 10.1%
2012 9.3%
2011 9.6%
2010 10.6%
2009 11.3%
2008 13.0%
2007 11.8%
2006 12.5%
2005 14.2%
2004 12.7%
2003 12.4%
2002 12.3%
2001 13.1%
2000 14.3%
1999 15.5%
1998 16.5%














Source: Statistics New Zealand: New Zealand Income Survey