The gender gap for pay is closer in Bay of Plenty than nationwide - though both men and women in the region earn less than the median national income.

Statistics New Zealand data shows Bay of Plenty women earned a median weekly income of $440 in 2014 - 38 per cent below men, who earned a median weekly income of $720.

Median weekly income increases by year for women were also consistently lower than men.

From 2013 to 2014 median income for men increased $47, or 4.3 per cent, from $690, while median income for women increased by $4, or 1.1 per cent, from $436.


The national median weekly income was $464 for women and $767 for men, a difference between the genders of 49 per cent.

Halee Reid, Tauranga branch manager of Drake recruitment company, said gender still played a part in employment.

"There are still some traditional gender-specific roles," she said.

"If we advertise administrative roles, we get lots of females applying.

"If we advertise labour roles, we get lots of males applying. But we would never discriminate against any sex applying for any role." She did not think women were disadvantaged when it came to landing senior management positions, however.

"I don't personally have any experience of sexism.

"I've had two management roles recently [and] we had males and females apply for both roles.

"A male got one of the jobs and a female got the other."


More women in part-time work had probably brought the female median down, she said.

"Women still typically carry childcare responsibilities, so a lot only want part-time work that's during school hours."

Ms Reid was surprised Bay of Plenty pay was below the national medians.

"I'm seeing pays going up on average. The minimum wage keeps going up.

"Employers that traditionally paid $16 an hour for someone with specific skills are now needing to look at paying $18 because $16's not much more than the minimum wage."

Union organiser Shanna Reeder of Unite said a variety of factors still fuelled the gender-related wage gap in New Zealand.

"People can get a little confused because, if they're given a union collective contract that says they'll earn a certain amount after doing a particular job for so many years, they think it means they'll have equal pay," she said.

"However, then they've got other problems that can keep their pay down, including the fact women don't get promoted as often as men."

Ms Reeder said women usually wouldn't put their hands up for higher-paying roles as often as men, and often took time off work for maternity leave.

"It's not only about looking at how much is being paid to men and women in the same role, but at what opportunities women have had."

Ms Reeder said continued income imbalance stemmed from an aversion to policies which would "make gender-related income equality a priority".

"It's probably time for the Government to take a long, hard look at why this happens and improve it."

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