New Zealand could add more than $16 billion to the economy by lifting its female employment rate to match that of Sweden.
New Zealand has been ranked fourth in PwC’s Women in Work Index, coming in behind Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The report, based on data from 2014, highlights the potential gains for businesses and economies by employing more women and shrinking the gender pay gap.
If New Zealand raised its female employment rate to match Sweden’s – the country with the highest female employment rate in the OECD – it stands to grow GDP by almost 7 per cent, or US$11 billion ($16 billion), the report says.
It is a relatively easy way to lift GDP. Countries like Japan with a low level of women in the workforce have real challenges with their economy. It’s not good to have half your adult working age population not in work.
New Zealand’s ranking remains unchanged from 2013; however, it has risen four places in the past 14 years.
Meanwhile, Australia continues to fall in the index rankings, dropping from 17th to 20th.
According to the report, New Zealand’s gender pay gap is not as large as those of some of the OECD’s worst-performers.
Kiwi men’s median wages were found to be 6 per cent higher than those of their female counterparts, compared to a gender pay gap of 17 per cent in the US and 18 per cent in the UK.
Not as large as some? That is an under-statement.
According to the OECD, we have the smallest pay gap in the developed world, which probably means the world.