But then, something else happens; when women make up more than 80 per cent of a management team, pay disparities rise sharply in favour of men – with the gender pay gap losing all the gains seen with, say, female management at 60%, and actually results in a worse outcome than management teams with less than 20% female representation – at 17%.
'This suggests that men working in management roles in heavily female-dominated organisations are more highly valued and more likely to be fast tracked to senior positions and receive greater pay," according to the study.
Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre director Professor Alan Duncan said the "intriguing" results suggested the so-called "pedestal effect", where unconscious bias operated in favour of men even in female-dominated industries because men became more distinguished.
One company interviewed by the Australian Financial Review, AECOM, which employs 3,500 workers in Australia, which has set a target for senior female leaders at 20 per cent by 2020, has also assigned a $1 million budget for 2016 and 2017 to rectify pay disparities for women. When deciding to give a man a pay increase, managers must also consider appropriate pay increases for women around him. According to AECOM chief executive Lara Poloni, 'We are owning the issue by identifying those women who are underpaid and proactively topping-up their salary to match that of similarly qualified and experienced male peers'.