AUT Pay Gaps Report released

03 Aug, 2022
AUT city campus with people walking between buildings

The latest AUT Pay Gaps Report shows a gradual improvement in reducing the gender pay gap amongst its staff, but work needs to continue on the ethnicity pay gap.

It is the second time AUT has released the report, but the first time AUT has reported on the ethnicity pay gap, the first university in Aotearoa New Zealand to do so.

The report suggests AUT has a slightly higher median gender pay gap than the NZ-wide median (9.5% versus 9.1%) but still compares favourably with the UK University median of 11.8% (there are no comparable New Zealand University statistics). AUT’s mean gender pay gap has reduced by 1.4%, down from 12.7% in 2019 to 11.3% in 2021.

Group Director of People and Culture, Beth Bundy, said the report is an important tool for the university to understand, and be transparent about, the gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

“Shining a spotlight on the report’s findings, being up front with our staff about the figures and owning where we need to improve is important for our goal of achieving workplace equity,” she said.

“We know we have work to do, and the results of this year’s report provide us with valuable comparisons to highlight where we need a sharper focus with our existing activities.”

Key highlights of the 2021 data in the report:

  • 61% of AUT’s workforce identify as women and 39% identify as men (2019 figures were 59% and 41% respectively)
  • 6% of AUT’s workforce identify as Māori. Our median pay gap for Māori employees is 1.1% and our mean is 1.0%. This reflects an equal representation of Māori across all pay quartiles but there is a still an under-representation of Māori across workforce as a whole.
  • 8% of AUT’s workforce identify as Pacific – our median pay gap is 41.2% and our mean is 31.6%. This reflects the significant under representation of Pacific people in roles above the lowest quartile.  This is in part driven by the short-term employment opportunities AUT provides to a number of our Pacific students as UniPrep Navigators.

AUT’s pay gap trends across all cohorts reveal similar trends to the data captured about the public sector by Te Kawa Mataaho, Public Service Commission.  The data shows the types of jobs held by women, Māori and Pacific people across the New Zealand public sector significantly contribute to the pay gap through occupational segregation.

“While our figures and trends are similar to those across the public sector nationally, we want to do better,” Beth said. “We know through our talks with Mind the Gap that there are very few large New Zealand organisations that report on ethnicity pay gaps. However, we hope that being the first university to do it, demonstrates our commitment to doing better and will encourage organisations to do the same.”

Beth said AUT will also continue to review and improve on how the data is reported.

The report highlights the number of current and future initiatives underway to close the gender and ethnicity pay gap: Examples include:

  • Managers completing unconscious bias training and a recruitment process review to ensure there is no potential for bias or disadvantage
  • Tracking and reporting progression and promotion outcomes, particularly for women staff
  • Designing a framework for policy/procedure review to apply an equitability, diversity and accessibility lens
  • Aligning AUT’s work with nationally recognised organisations such as GenderTick, Mind the Gap, Global Women’s Champions for Change and Te Kawa Mataaho.

The last Pay Gaps Report was in 2019, and the intention was to release the data annually. In 2020 and 2021, the impacts of COVID rediverted resources to support the University and staff.

A pay gap is not the same as an equal pay issue

Equal pay and pay gaps both concern pay disparity issues but are different measures.

Equal pay is a legal requirement that people occupying the same role, performing the same work, receive the same pay. AUT has monitored and reviewed pay equity for many years and has a pay and grading system designed to minimise gender discrimination.

A gender pay gap is the difference between men and women’s actual earnings. Similarly, ethnicity pay gap is an indicator of differences in earning between certain ethnicities.


  • Pay Quartiles (Lower, Lower Middle, Upper Middle, Upper). Typical roles within Lower and Middle Lower Quartiles range from customer service and hospitality, research and teaching assistants and administrators while managerial roles are in the Upper Quartile.
  • Occupation segregation is where one gender or ethnicity dominates a particular occupational group. An example would be males dominating board and senior management roles in most organisations.

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