Media releases

City of Sydney defies national gender pay gap trend

Published 16 December 2021

The City of Sydney has again proven its commitment to gender pay equity – with new figures confirming the organisation has defied Australian trends and maintained its pay gap in favour of women.

According to the City’s sixth annual gender pay review, its total remuneration gender pay gap was 3.4 per cent in favour of women – up 2.5 per cent from 0.9 per cent in 2019/20.

The City’s base salary gender pay gap is 9 per cent in favour of women – an increase of 2.2 per cent from 2019/20 when it was 6.8 per cent.

This compares to a national pay gap of 20.1 per cent in favour of men, according to federal Workplace Gender Equality Agency data.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the results are particularly encouraging given the negative impacts of Covid-19 on women in the workforce.

“We know that the pandemic has had a disproportionally negative effect on women’s employment, with women again bearing the brunt of family caring duties over the past two years,” the Lord Mayor said. “It is vital that all organisations and businesses address gender gap in the workplace and the broader community.

“Women make up more than 40 per cent of our workforce and almost half of our leadership roles. Addressing the pay gap has helped the City attract and retain talented women including our CEO Monica Barone, who leads an experienced executive team with a 50:50 gender split.

“While women represent less than a third of all councillors and mayors serving on the 128 councils in NSW, it’s a testament to our progressive city that every Council table since 2012 has had a female majority.

“But there’s still work to be done. We will continue our commitment to gender equity and be held accountable by reviewing and reporting our pay gap each year. It’s one of a number of important ways we can support women in our workplaces and in the community.”

The NSW Public Service Commission has also just released its 2021 Workforce Profile Report, revealing the gender pay gap had doubled since last year, rising from 2.2 per cent to 4.1 per cent in favour of men.

Following a 2015 resolution of council, the City of Sydney was one of the first local governments in Australia to monitor and publicly report on its gender pay equity.

The gender pay gap measures the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings that is shown as a percentage of men’s earnings.

Other findings of the recent gender pay gap review for the City of Sydney included:

  • a higher female attrition rate which affected the gender composition of the workforce and the gender pay gap
  • overall, the percentage of women in the workforce decreased from 44.4 per cent in 2019/20 to 42.3 per cent in 2020/21. This may be a result of the gendered impacts of Covid-19.

In 2019, the Australian HR Awards recognised the City of Sydney as an inclusive workplace and employer of choice for women. In 2020, the City of Sydney received the Ministers’ Award for Women in Local Government for Employment Diversity.

The City of Sydney’s support for female employees includes:

  • Launching Sydney’s Women4Climate mentorship program as part of the C40 network to support emerging women leaders to become more expert influencers in accelerating action on climate change.
  • Providing generous parental leave, including adoption and long-term fostering and a flexible, supportive return-to-work policy.
  • Doubling the partner leave from two weeks to four weeks to encourage parents to share the care.
  • Hosting events that raise awareness and celebrate women at work, such as International Women's Day events and committee-organised lunch-and-learn sessions.
  • Continued commitment to gender equity through reviewing work conditions, ensuring availability of benefits in all areas and at all levels of the organisation.

The City of Sydney will continue to monitor the gendered aspects of employee exit data.

For media enquiries or images, contact Belinda Wallis Phone 0467 810 160 or email

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Images available for download below. Photo credit: Katherine Griffiths / City of Sydney