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Gender inequality compounded by COVID, finds MYOB

Business Management Platform MYOB has revealed the gender wage gap among employees of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is sitting at 7.5% in favour of men, when comparing median hourly wages, and that women faced disproportionate challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twenty-six per cent of small businesses owners reported that during the pandemic increased caring responsibilities impacted more of their female employees than male. Fifteen per cent said women were more likely to be unable to work at their usual capacity, more than double that of men (6.4%). They were also twice as likely to face reduced job security, at 13% compared to 7%.

The analysis of MYOB’s anonymised data, representing more than a million SME employees, and accompanying survey of 1,000 SME owners and operators, was released this week in MYOB Success Report: SME Wages.

“The gender pay gap is a widely established concern across all sectors, with the WGEA calculating the gap, in terms of average earnings, to be 14.1% in favour of men,”1 said Helen Lea, Chief Employee Experience Officer at MYOB.

“On top of established and systemic challenges, the pandemic exacerbated many social and economic drivers that contribute to unequal outcomes for women. These were particularly apparent in the industries most impacted by COVID restrictions, such as hospitality and retail.”

Despite the gender pay gap, there is some cause for optimism. The survey results show flexible working practices, accelerated by the pandemic, benefited 11% of women, compared to 5% of men. Eleven per cent of respondents also reported the pandemic led to more increased wages for women, compared to 6% for men, and increased opportunities for 11% of women, compared to 6% for men.

Increasing wages overall is also a priority for 84% of SMEs, and more than half (51%) have increased wages in the last 12 months.

“Australia’s small and medium sized businesses are looking to return to a normal operating rhythm; however conditions remain difficult with labour shortages and cost of living putting significant pressure on businesses and employees alike,” Ms Lea said.

“Despite the challenges, these findings indicate the commitment of SMEs – the country’s largest employer – to deliver wage growth to the 7.6 million Australians they employ. By bringing awareness to the gender pay gap, and providing ways to action discrepancies, we hope to assist the sector to deliver more equitable outcomes for Australians.”


For further comment or other information please contact:

Selina Ife

Media Manager


About MYOB

MYOB is a leading business platform with a core purpose of helping more businesses in Australia and New Zealand start, survive and succeed. MYOB delivers end-to-end business, financial and accounting solutions direct to businesses employing between 0 and 1000 employees, alongside a network of accountants, bookkeepers and consultants. For more information visit or follow MYOB on LinkedIn.

About the report

MYOB engaged Geografia ( to create the MYOB SME Indices by compiling key data points from MYOB’s ledger, invoices and payroll datasets. Businesses no longer operating and input error outliers were excluded, and seasonal adjustment15 employed to smooth out predictable cyclical variations. The MYOB SME Success Report: SME wages tracks the SME median hourly wage, with segmentation by gender and industry. The MYOB snapshot survey, commissioned by MYOB in conjunction with McCrindle, was conducted between 27 June 2022 and 4 July 2022. Findings are based on a sample of 1,038 Australians who manage and/or are an owner of a small-medium enterprise (businesses with up to 199 employees).