Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 2011 Top Earning Jobs for Women

For the third consecutive year Forbes has compiled its annual list of the best-paying jobs for women, putting the spotlight on the occupations where women can, and do, earn the most - and HR managers came in at number 10.
The list was compiled using US data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and based on the median weekly earnings of full-time workers in 2010. Forbes discovered that the technology and health care sectors were the top earning industries.
It was noted that women still earn an average of 81.2% as much as men and remain concentrated in unskilled sectors, such as administrative assistants, cashiers and retail workers.
Francine Blau, a professor of labor economics at Cornell University, said she believes the gender pay gap may be higher among doctors and chief executives due to factors like specialty type, self-employment, industry and firm size.
She commented that while these occupations feature a wider range of pay, if men earn more of the outlying, mega salaries, it could bring the male median up.
Blau cited continued discrimination as a factor in the pay divide, and told Forbes, “Not only are women less likely to make it to those upper ranges [of a profession] because of promotion gaps, when they do get there they are less likely to be paid fairly.”
The top 10 earning jobs for women in 2011 were:
(Values represented in US$)
No. 10: Human Resources Managers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,170
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $60,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 71%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 80%
  • Last year's position: dropped off
No. 9: Computer Programmers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,177
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 22%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 95%
  • Last year's position: No. 7
No. 8: Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,184
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $61,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 97%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: dropped off
No. 7: Physical Therapists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,208
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $63,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 62%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: unavailable
  • Last year's position: new this year
No. 6: Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,415
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $73,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 30%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 82%
  • Last year's position: No. 4
No. 5: Computer Software Engineers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,445
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $75,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 21%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 91%
  • Last year's position: No. 5
No. 4: Lawyers
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,461
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $76,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 35%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 77%
  • Last year's position: No. 3
No. 3: Chief Executives
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,598
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 26%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 72%
  • Last year's position: No. 1
No. 2: Pharmacists
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,605
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $83,500
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 48%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 83%
  • Last year's position: No. 2
No. 1: Physicians and Surgeons
  • Median weekly earnings: $1,618
  • Approximate median yearly earnings: $84,000
  • Women as percentage of the profession: 31%
  • Earnings as percentage of men's earnings: 71%
  • Last year's position: No. 6

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Diversity Dilemma

Gender imbalances are still plaguing Australian businesses.
HC mag interview Naomi Simson from Red Balloon, David Bowsher from BBC Australia, Rowan Arndt from NAB and Abby O'Neal from the Melbourne Business School.

As seen on

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Encouraging Participation in Playgroups after Returning to Work

Often Playgroups will fold when one or both parents return to work. Whether there is financial stress and mums and dads need to work, the reality is, at some point, they will return to work. How do you keep Playgroups going and providing a platform for the children to interact in a healthy environment after returning to work? Here are some suggestions that might help:

1.      One thing our mother’s group did was put together a contact list, with everyone’s work schedules captured so when organising events and catch ups everyone could be accommodated. It’s important to consider everyone in the group and do your best to accommodate.  We started running two catch up days a week instead of one so if a mum missed the Tuesday group because she was working, she could come along to the Friday group. 

2.       You could start a ‘working parents group’ instead of a ‘playgroup’ if everyone has gone back to work.  This could include movie nights, Sunday brunches with kids, book clubs (for both children and adults). Weekends are a nice time for families to get together and give the kids a chance to play with their friends and engage in activities.

3.       Start an email newsletter to keep in touch. This would be particularly helpful for those that haven’t been able to be accommodated into a playgroup since returning to work. It’s a way to make them feel included in what’s going on and welcome if and when their situation changes.

4.       Another option is to be creative with the location of playgroup. Hold it at a shopping centre, someone’s home, community centre or a park.

5.       Splitting playgroups into smaller groups at different times could also work. Allocating two timeslots - or more if a larger group - will make each playgroup smaller to begin with but will allow openings for new families and allow intimate interaction for a while with the few families that attend. Sometimes it’s nice to interact within a smaller group, which often encourages the children to play with different friends.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The EOWA (Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency) held its Business Achievement Awards recognising organisations that are achieving in the areas of diversity and supporting the advancement of women in the workplace. 

Congratulations to EOWA 2011 Business Achievement Finalists and Winners announced Wednesday by EOWA Director Helen Conway and the Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon Kate Ellis who celebrated with ‘the best of the best’ organisations showcasing their efforts in advancing women in the workplace.  Key themes that were acknowledged and lauded across the field included promoting gender diversity, support offered to parents returning to work and creating flexible work practices. 

The Education Sector romped home with the awards this year with the University of WA, Australian Catholic University and Catholic Education Office – Adelaide picking up 3 of the 6 awards and the Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong was also a Finalist. Mums@work would like to acknowledge all the finalists and winners of the 2011 Awards. 

A special congratulations to mums@work clients and supporters; Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong, Westpac Banking Corporation and Henry Davis York.

We hope to spread the word about the great work these organisations are championing and acknowledge the hard work and dedication they have put into to make a difference to the lives of working parents.

2011 EOWA Business Achievement Awards
Summary of Finalists 

Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women
Sponsored by Australian Industry Group
Ralph Norris (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Deborah Waterhouse (GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd)
Karen Spiller (St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School)
Alan Robson (The University of Western Australia) WINNER
Gail Kelly (Westpac Banking Corporation)

Diversity Leader for the Advancement of Women
Sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Helen O’Brien (Catholic Education Office – Adelaide)
Kerry Thomas (L’Oreal Australia Pty Ltd)
Philip Jones (Maddocks)
Sally Macindoe (Norton Rose Australia)  WINNER
Katie-Jeyn Romeyn (St Barbara Limited)

Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (<800 employees)
Sponsored by IBM Australia
Amgen Australia Pty Ltd
ASX Limited
Catholic Education Office – Adelaide - WINNER
Henry Davis York
ITC Limited

Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (>800 employees)
Australian Catholic University Limited - WINNER
Corporate Express Australia Pty Limited
National Australia Bank Limited
Stockland Development Pty Ltd
Westpac Banking Corporation

Outstanding EEO Practice for the Advancement of Women in a Non-Traditional Area or Role
Sponsored by ExxonMobil Australia
Downer EDI Ltd
National Australia Bank Limited - WINNER
Rio Tinto Iron Ore
St Barbara Limited
James L. Williams Pty Ltd

The Minister's Award for Outstanding EEO Initiative/Result for the Advancement of Women
Catholic Education Office – Diocese of Wollongong
CSL Limited - WINNER
Hayman Island Great Barrier Reef
The University of Sydney 

For more info on the EOWA, visit

Monday, November 7, 2011

Million Dollar Mums a Myth?

Costs of raising a family, including childcare has been a hot topic of late and is a real issue families need to think about, given these financial times. Recent figures have shown that the foregone income for a family with three children (lost through one parent taking time off to raise the family), is over a million dollars.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In Chanel 10’s program THE PROJECT, Emma Walsh, Director of mum@work says mums don’t need to give up their careers to raise a family.  However, she acknowledges it's a real challenge and to make it work, it is a matter of getting the right support, planning in advance and communicating effectively.

“The real concern is childcare costs.  Some parents can find themselves paying out as much as $4000 a month pre-tax; and with a $7000 cap on the Federal Government’s 50% child care rebate, some parents find themselves going backwards fast. Not only is this de-motivating, it’s unsustainable. To avoid this, mums AND dads need to do the sums, plan ahead and ‘think smarter’ about how they can return to work by negotiating better flexible work arrangements with employers. It’s not always easy, but it can be done,” assures Emma Walsh.   

It is worth noting that Australia is well behind other OECD countries in the work flexibility debate. According to Walsh, employers need to be more lateral thinking with their workplace practices, rethink job design and be more adaptive and open to using technology better to deliver more productive outcomes that create a win/win for all.  “They risk losing valuable talent if they don’t adapt. Whilst mums and dads should create a plan for how they’d like to work, they should also consider the business impact and propose some solutions to how the job could be made more flexible – it’s about focusing on what can be done flexibly rather than entirely focusing on the negative. Too many parents - when negotiating flexible work arrangements - are ill-prepared. They should seek out support to plan for the conversation with their employer if they feel a lack of confidence.  When making ‘flexibility’ work the responsibility doesn’t fall entirely on one or the other,” says Walsh.

Statistics show that working dads in this generation want to spend more time with their children and are also experiencing the need for different working conditions. When asked about ‘sharing’ the parenting role with fathers, Walsh acknowledged that there are a lot of dads now stepping up and taking on some or all of the primary caring role, but Australian workplace cultures have been slow to adjust to this fact and more needs to be done to encourage organizations to support working dads with the juggle. 

Walsh believes, “For a lot of mums, it’s about taking the leap and asking for help. A lot of us want to be the ones doing everything; the pick-up, the drop off, pleasing the boss, doing the shopping and the housework and we have to realise we can’t do everything ourselves because we’re not super-human.  We need to discuss and plan with our manager how to work flexibly and share the load with our partners, friends and family, where possible.”

This means effective communication is critically important between employers and mums & dads for the family unit to be able to function well and cope with the many and varied demands of juggling raising children with work.

View the full interview on THE PROJECT (Friday’s episode - 4th November – segment ‘super mums’)

If you’d like support in your return to work or as a representative from an employer’s perspective, want to know more about how to implement Family Friendly solutions into your organization, contact mums@work.
See our Working Parents Toolkit

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Career Development a shared responsibility

A common fear for parents when they return to work is that they may be sidelined for promotion or marginalized, especially if they choose to work part time. Your fears might be real or perceived; the only way to find out is to ask. Yes, ask.

If you are focused on the next career step and promotion (or not as the case may be), be upfront, so your manager knows your intentions and aspirations rather than leaving them to guess or assume.  Be proactive and review your career plan; discuss options with your manager, partner and other relevant people to support your continued learning and development.

It’s also important to back your self - the reality is if you don’t have confidence in your own capability or can’t articulate your career intentions then it’s harder for your manager and others to back and support you. 

In other words, no one can give you confidence or develop your career for you, you need to nurture and develop it (leaning on others around you for input and support as required). It’s about harnessing your strengths and drawing on your experiences so you can put your best foot forward whether it’s about negotiating a pay rise, the next promotion, or flexible work arrangements. If you undersell yourself and your capability, you not only do yourself a disservice, you effectively permit other people to stereotype you or discriminate against you. Your level of job satisfaction is likely to take a nose dive.

Organisations Found 'Career After Kids' seminars and Stay-in-touch Coaching empowered their working parents

2011 has seen mums@work help many parents return to work successfully through the Career After Kids (CAK) seminars and our Stay-In-Touch coaching service. Encouragingly, many more organisations signed up their working parents to attend the quarterly seminars in 2011 demonstrating that the drive to better support working parents continues to be topical and relevant since the introduction of paid parental leave.

Director of mums@work, Emma Walsh says that “organisations are increasingly recognising that paid parental leave alone isn’t enough to make returning parents feel supported and equipped as they tackle the challenges of work and raising family. Rather it’s the chance to connect with other working parents and having access to coaching, while on leave and once returned, to discuss ways to manage the work life juggle, that makes all the difference.” 
All the parents who attended CAK seminars this year left with a sense of empowerment, a return to work plan and ideas about how to achieve their successful return to work.

Organisations have already started booking their working parents in for next year's 'Career After Kids' Seminars. Tuesday 21 February 2012 is the first one scheduled for Sydney for next year.
Contact Elysha to reserve up to 5 places for your organisation now, to avoid disappointment, as places are booking up fast.