New Zealand's gender pay gap was 9.4 percent in the June 2017 quarter, down from 12 percent in the June 2016 quarter, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Friday.
This is the smallest gender pay gap in five years, after women's hourly pay rose at a faster pace than men's in the past year, the Stats NZ said in a statement.
"Recently, there's been a spotlight on gender pay inequality in New Zealand," said labor and income statistics manager Sean Broughton.
The decrease from a 12-percent gap last year is the biggest drop in the gender pay gap since the series began in 1998, Broughton said, adding that the gender pay gap is a way to understand the differences in pay between men and women.
Median hourly earnings from wages and salaries rose 3.4 percent to 24.29 NZ dollars (17.4 U.S. dollars) in the year to the June 2017 quarter. For women, median hourly earnings rose by 4.6 percent, which is the biggest annual percentage increase since the June 2007 quarter, statistics show.
"Increases in median hourly earnings for women in four of eight occupation groups played a major part in the 4.6-percent rise in women's hourly earnings," Broughton said.
Over the year, median hourly earnings for women rose in the following occupation groups: community and personal services which rose 4.4 percent, clerical and administration which rose 4.1 percent, sales which rose 2.9 percent, and machinery operator and drivers which rose 11.1 percent.
"Three out of four of these occupation groups have a higher proportion of women in them," Broughton said, adding that community and personal services include occupations such as child carers, health workers, education aides, and hospitality workers.
In the June 2017 quarter, half of workers aged 15 years and over earned more than 959 NZ dollars (687 U.S. dollars) a week from paid employment, which is a rise of 3.8 percent from the June 2016 quarter, the Stats NZ said.
Women's Minister Paula Bennett said that she wanted New Zealand to be the first country to eliminate the gender pay gap, adding that in New Zealand public sector, there are 45 percent of women on State Sector Boards and 46 percent of women in senior leadership roles in the public service.
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